Sunday, May 31, 2009

A friend of mine once said he believed the trick to dealing with rejection was to revel in it. He had a plan to cover the walls of his room in rejection letters.

He never did it. It was a good idea though.

So there's one. One letter pinned onto the wall.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Horrific Nightmare Action (2 of 2)

Been meaning to finish this. So:

Men, boiler suits and masks – hammers, rope. More and more people screaming. Breaking into the flats, pulling the people out, dragging them. Into the courtyard. Pushing their bodies into the coffins.

I’m watching. I think: oh shit I have to protect my grandmother. Pushing them into coffins and hammering the lids shut with massive iron nails. Up onto my feet, armchair falling over.

One of the teams is near the flat, the leader looks my way
looks right at me
to say: 'that one'
and they set down the hammers
start walking over
walking across the courtyard of coffins
walking through harsh sunlight
sound of screaming is everywhere
but not too fast
an assured, practical stride
four or five of them
coming over

I run to the door and somehow it's hanging open. Somehow they're closer than they should be. The first one is just three or four steps away. Blank-faced mask, reaching out.

No time to shut the door. Got to save my grandmother.
I turn and run into the flat, and that's when everything
I mean everything
explodes with wriggling, crawling
there are old people climbing out from everywhere
out from inside the furniture
under the carpet
out from behind the pictures on the wall
climbing out of vases, climbing down out of the lampshades
they have these leering eyes
broken teeth
all of them are naked, they have drooping flesh and liver spots
matted hair
veins under their skin
purple/black flesh from bad circulation

I run through the lounge, leaping up from the limbs clutching up from the floor, amazed - HORRIFIED! - by this. In the hallway doors are bursting wide, they're falling out in twined masses, piling onto the floor.
I scream. I turn back - the men are stepping inside, the first man is staring at me across the writhing, transformed room. His eyes are made of shining metal.
I don't have a choice, I run into the hall. I have to step on some of them. They moan. They are hard to step on, they're all in motion, churning, it's a sexual thing - OH GOD, they're having SEX with each other, or they're trying to.
The rooms have moved. The whole layout of the flat has changed, I open the door to what should be my grandmother's bedroom, but it's a toilet and two of them are pushed up, rutting against the sink and watching me in the mirror.
I turn - metal eyes at the end of the hall. Climb over more of them, they're moaning now, and here's a side-hall which is free of them, it's empty, then a corner, a small room. A washing machine. A big wooden door. Beside the door, my third grade teacher.
My teacher pulls her top off, revealing large naked breasts.
She points at the door, a gatekeeper from an old, old story.
She says: "Your father is waiting for you."
The panic is gone. A strange silence has settled, it's almost like peace but it's not. A hum of expectancy.
I step up to the door. My teacher's breasts are heavy, pale, round. She smiles.
"Go in."

I open the door. It's a bedroom. Not my grandmother's.
It's too late to save her anyway.
Ornate. A four-poster bed, drapes and tapestries on the walls. Antique furniture. A large gold-coloured statue - an eagle taking flight with something dead in its claws. On a side table, a smaller sculpture of two dogs tearing at each other's throats. The whole place has a feeling of opulence, dread.
Opposite the door is the most important thing - a cheval glass. A full-figure mirror. Ornate golden frame, fashioned into a series of animals eating each other. This has been a recurring image for me, both before and since. Chains of animals, all eating each other. Here, looking at this mirror, I think: this is Nazi stuff. Evil.
I look at the mirror. I guess I must have taken a step forward because she's closed the door behind me. The hum is actually in my ears now, humming and growing louder. The reflection in the mirror is cloudy, I can only vaguely see myself, my own body. The glass is rippling, like water. The glass is on fire. Those invisible flames which shimmer, warp your vision. My reflection is moving, stepping closer.
What did she mean "My father is waiting"? My father?
It isn't my reflection. Something's coming out. Something breaks the surface up high, up at the top - two points, horns. Far apart, more and more of them. And now I can see fingers, emerging to grip the frame, which is on fire.
More and more of the horns, my god they are huge.
And a hairy knee, a leg, a cloven hoof planted onto the carpet, which blackens, scorched.
I'm thinking: MY FATHER?
When this thing comes out, when I see its face, some part of me will be destroyed, utterly. It doesn't matter that it's only a dream. When I see this thing's face, it'll be over.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Three Hyperlinks

I've spent the last week working on other stuff, so have been unable to bring more Sleep Dep into the world.

So here are some links.

Exhilarating - Just in case you are not one of the 900,000 people who've seen this already. "There Are Monsters". Watch it in full screen, pay attention.

Wonderful - "White Girl Dreams", ten pages from Mary K Brown. Navigation is on the left. MK Brown is who Sleep Dep wants to be when it grows up.

Inspirational - The complete and downloadable recordings of Shooby Taylor, the Human Horn. Start from the top. Don't stop after the first couple. Keep listening. Listen to them all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

(Near) Death of a Sock Monkey

Had a series of bad traffic accidents a couple months back.

The first one was probably the worst – coming up the ramp onto the motorway, I would have been going about seventy or eighty k, getting set to merge lanes and all of a sudden the cars in the next lane stop, and the van stops, and everything else stops. Dead still.

I'm sitting at the wheel, staring ahead, or at sort of an angle, staring out across the lanes of traffic. I can see these trees on the far side, the leaves, the long grass. They've stopped. There's grey shapes in the corner of my vision, hovering in mid-air, which I assume are stopped pigeons except I can't check because I've stopped too. Can't move, can't even swivel my eyeballs in their sockets.

And I'm thinking: fu-uck.

Time's fucking stopped.

Except my consciousness has continued in the gap.

And I'm there.

And at first I'm just thinking: fahh.


But then I think: when is this going to start up again? You know? 'Cos I've got no way of knowing when, or if, things are going to start moving again. This could be it, this could be me – trapped for forever in just this one moment, driving three dozen crates of wine and spirits up onto the motorway. Staring out across the traffic, with the trees behind half-in focus. Can't even focus my eyes.

This could be me, forever. Weeks, months, years. Centuries even. Millennia. My own private hell – fuck's sake! I'm thinking: it'll drive me out of my mind. Drive me fucking mad. And then what? Drive me even further out of my fucking mind. It'd just keep going. Sustained pressure on my sanity, there'd be nothing left. No reference except for this one same moment, this one bunch of stimuli. Train of thought would just come apart completely, round and round, thinking about the same things until you couldn't even call it thought anymore, it'd just be chanting.

But then I think: what if it starts up again? 'Cos I'd be fucked then too, since I've got my foot down on the accelerator, like I say I'm going seventy or eighty k into another lane of traffic. So I'm worried that when (or if) it starts up again, I won't be able to react in time, I'll slam into one of these cars, probably this yellow one just behind me which I can barely even see.


You know?

Like, how am I supposed to be prepared for this moment when time resumes? If, in fact, it ever arrives? Driving a van at eighty k is one thing, but going from zero to eighty in the blink of an eye, going from not driving to full on driving down the motorway... that's a different story!

I make up my mind to stay tense, stay prepared. I'm staring out across the lanes of traffic like a dozey fuckwit, not moving, not doing anything, but mentally I'm prepared for things to go whizzing into life the next moment. And then the next moment. And on and on. I'm sitting there, and half of me is scared that I'm stuck here for eternity and I'll go mad, and the other half is just shit-scared I'm about to fly into a side-on collision at eighty k.

I'm thinking: first thing to do is take your foot off the accelerator. The very first chance you get. Then hit the brake, pull the wheel to the left. Foot off the accelerator. Hit the brake. Steer left.

Somehow I have the theme music from Labyrinth stuck in my head. Don't ask me why.

Thinking about Labyrinth reminds me of Beth, my sister. Beth likes Labyrinth, I mean everyone does, I certainly do, but she likes it more than anyone.

Beth's always on my case about my driving. Dumb cow. Not that there's anything wrong with my driving, because there isn't. She's just decided I'm a bad driver, keeps telling me to get a different job.

“If you keep driving that van you're gonna have an accident and kill yourself. Bet you fifty bucks.”

I think: bet you fifty fucking dollars that when time starts up again and I hit this yellow car, Beth's going to blame it on my driving.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Moon Over Desert

Log off, shut down.

How is it possible that it's 11 o'clock?

Lights out. These terrible fluorescent lights. All day, all evening. The feeling lingers on the skin afterwards. Unhealthy.

The long walk out. Office to the left, empty. Big window on the right looking down onto the facility floor.

Dark down there. Up here, more of those fluoro lights, one after another, steady pulse, like driving a car - the "cat's eyes" on a dark road, the overhead lamps.

Door release. Elevator. Another door release. Deserted lobby. Footsteps on the hard floor. Picture window, glass door, orange sodium lights of the carpark.

Warm night air.

Dead pigeon on the asphalt beside door. Blinking. Nudging it with a foot.
What's that supposed to do, bring it back to life?

Tired. Warm night. Car park, mostly empty. Three or four cars, and there's the Audi, lonely out there on the far side. Footsteps, heels sharp against asphalt. Slight breeze. Black shape - security guard, walking along the side of the facility. Hand lifted in acknowledgement.

'Night,' he says.


Stating the obvious.

Pausing for a second once the door's unlocked. So tired. A tired pause. There's the moon, full moon tonight. Or not quite. Almost.


Voice on the radio. 'Not immediately apparent,' it says. 'Whatever relevance, whether any of it is in fact relevant.'

Streetlights, a steady pulse. Wall on the left, screening out the other plants, the other facilities. A slope on the right, down to the train tracks, the desert. Rocks and plants scattered around down there.

Graffiti on the wall, vivid pink: "ASHNOPI".

'Obviously have a better picture as it plays out,' says the voice.

'Ashnopi,' he says. Trying out the sound of the word.

He notices something out of the corner of his eye - a train, down there in the valley, coming up from behind. Lights at the front, big ugly bull of a locomotive, then car after car after car after car, rolling out beneath the almost-full moon. Beautiful sight.

Thinks about the train, those cars. Thinks about tramps maybe riding in the cars. A young guy, runaway, looking up at the moon. What the hell, give him a musical instrument, a guitar. No. A trumpet. A muffled trumpet.

Eyes back on the road, but shooting glances down at the train. A rush of feeling, thinking about that kid. The melody he's playing out over the train's percussion. Excited, wistful, jealous. You could do anything with that freedom. You could do anything. Just your instrument, a little money, half a pack of cigarettes. Maybe a girl somewhere, or maybe that's too much. The girl would weigh it down, he thinks. Okay, so there's a girl but maybe things didn't work out between you, you needed time to think, get out into the open spaces.

Christ, so fucking tired.

There it goes. The tracks veer away from the highway as they reach the outskirts together.

The highway carries on to the left of the residential zone, runs close beside it, there are exit ramps and entry ramps connecting it like veins.

The car goes left, follows the grey bloodstream.

The train rolls right, into a wide shallow valley. Surburbs sprawling away on the left, some more off on the other side, further away. The valley and the tracks rolling like a wide river between them, a continuation of the desert which spreads out on all sides of the little streets and houses.

Any big space will give you a spooky feeling after dark. The desert, the ocean. Outer space.

Locomotive pushing forward like an angry jaw. Yellow and black stripes on its face. Huge lamps, loud white light. ROARING. The engine, the wheels against the tracks.

There is a car with its door hanging open.

A broken latch. Momentum tugging at the door, a little further aside, hour after hour, wind and motion shifting the cargo inside. Inch by inch, until this, a crate falls out. Crate slipping out of the train as it rolls through the valley. Tumbling out. Hitting the ground, rolling, smashing to pieces.

The train rolling on. Regardless.

Clattering, shaking. Car after car. Car after car. The broken crate beside the tracks. The wood shifting, pushed from inside. Clattering. Car after car. Gentle pushing, edging the splinters away. Creating a gap. Large enough. Clattering, shaking. A feeler emerging, testing. A tendril. Probing the dry earth. Moist, dark.

The black clay.

Car after car. Car after car.

So fucking long, the train. Always like this.

The locomotive already out of sight to the right of her, what is that, North, and to her left you still can't see the end of it, it's like a wall running along the valley, "a wall between them", her place and his, and that's perfect actually. That says it all, right there.

Tilting the wine glass up to her lips, except it's empty.

Walking back from the picture window to the table, the bottle. A refill. Warmer than the last glass, the flavour not as sharp, sweeter now. Sickly sweet. Like rotting flowers - HAH.

The next song starting. Track list on the back of the case, listening, pacing.
Was it this one? The woman starts singing again.

She sings: 'I'll remember FOR you'.

And: 'can't take it away'. Was it this one?

Pacing. Clock on the shelf. How is it possible it's 11:30?

Here we go, yes, it's this one. She's singing: 'Everything you've done, everything'. YES. That's it. Tipping the glass to her lips, filling her mouth with rotten sweetness.

The woman sings: 'the things you say / you're a fucking liar'.

Nodding, swallowing the wine. Exactly, yes. Thank God for this woman, the singer. She's a genius. That's exactly it, EXACTLY the feeling. Nodding, listening, pacing.

Wheels turning fast, round and round. Heat and momentum. Another refill, last of the bottle.

Song finishing. Walking over to the player, stopping it.

Thinks about playing it again. No. Or about calling him. What's the time? 11:33. Looks out at the valley. The train's gone. Just the streetlamps on the other side of the valley, lights in some of the houses. Yeah, some of those houses with the lights still on.

Ought to be able to tell which one is his, see if the lights are on, but the wheels turning fast and fuck it, if he's asleep she'll wake him, he fucking deserves it. Standing still for a moment, middle of the room. Are we doing this? Blue light from the fish tank. Hypnotised for a moment, watching them drift back and forth.

These god damned fish, she thinks.

She reaches for the phone, punches the speed dial. Back to the window.

A second of silence, as the call is relayed through dozens of miles of fibre optic cable, then routed back to the other side of the valley. Then a steady pulse in her ear, the phone ringing on his side.

The black clay has pulled itself free from the wreckage of the crate. It lies inert in the dust, as if exhausted.

She squints, half-expecting to see a light come on in one of those houses.
Phone ringing in his kitchen. Small, shrill sound.

The dog rises from its place by the front door, pads over and stands in the kitchen doorway. It watches, quiet and misrable, as the phone on the kitchen counter continues its unpleasant screeching.

She waits. Pulse after pulse, then a click. Teeth clenching. His answering machine message.

After the ringing, the familiar silence as the answering machine plays its greeting.

The dog stands watching.

There is a piercing beep. Then a loud metallic voice says:

'Are you there?'

The dog watches, does not answer.

'Pick up if you're there.'

Standing at the glass, looking out, watching for a light to come on.

Lying in the dust, gazing eyelessly up at the stars. Listening.

'You better pick up if you're there.'

No answer.

'Yeah, I guess not. Well it's eleven thirty, and I guess you're so fucking choked up about things you've gone out to a party, or you're sleeping with someone.'

It twitches.

Lights outside, through the curtains. The sound of a motor. The dog turns, whines, it's deep melancholy lit by painful flickers of hope.

'Which would be quick, but not a surprise.'

Another twitch, the clay rolls over onto what might be its belly.

The dog walks to the door, listens excitedly. The engine dies, the lights die.

'You fucking tryhard. At your age. Not so young anymore are ya? No, well neither of us are too young anymore.'

It shudders. New extrusions, new limbs sprout from its sides.

'Thanks for that, by the way. Wasting FOUR YEARS of my FUCKING LIFE, with your FUCKING USELESS LIES-'

The click of a door opening, the thump of it closing. Footsteps. The metallic rustle of keys.

'-BALD sack of SHIT can't even get it UP don't know why I'm calling NOT WORTH THE FUCKING EFFORT I hope you're DEAD in a DITCH, I bet that's why you're not answering, you're fucking DEAD.'

The black clay turns itself, eyeless, up towards the moon, and out towards the houses on either side.

'I hope you are.

'I really hope you are.'

She hangs up.

The door opens.

The answering machine falls silent.

The clay takes its bearings. It quivers. Then at once it moves, pulling itself across the valley at terrifying speed.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blog Entry

Ordinarily I wouldn't be making an entry about my personal life (at least in the present) or music or going to see bands etc, that's not the sort of blog this is.

Not really out to post photos of my friends or anything ("look, there's you! And there's ME!"). Go on rants about my political opinions. Talk about celebrities or thinkers I think are cool.


Yes HOWEVER because through the good graces of a woman who is not actually named Quincey but for the purposes of this blog is, I am in possession of the following:

Probably this means little or nothing to you. YOU DAMNED FOOL! I forgive you.

This is like you getting to see one of YOUR bands, whatever they are for you, like the top two or three bands in your life. Jhonn Balance is unfortunately dead, so there's no more Coil, but Peter Christopherson made all the music anyway and this is him and I'm getting to see him.

And it just keeps coming:

The first ticket is a 12 hour horror movie marathon. Then Threshold Houseboys Choir. Then on Monday they're showing Suspiria. In a cinema! Amazing.

The movie tickets, I should say, were subsidised by the Film House membership I got as a going-away present from my job in New Zealand. So in something of an irony, working to promote the rights of women has given me a discount to see a film where women are stabbed, dissected, impaled by glass, hung from nooses, covered in maggots, cursed by surreal flashing lights, dropped into a room full of barbed wire, and then brought back to life to attack their friends.

If someone pitched me this weekend, and said: "all of this could be yours, but we'd have to pull one of your fingernails out with pliers", I would have said: "okay, do it." I would probably have asked for a shot of whiskey or something first. But going to these movies and this gig is better good than having a fingernail pulled out would be badly bad. Go Quincey.

Thank you for indulging me. Hopefully this does not constitute gloating. Probably not.

It probably doesn't mean a lot to you. There has been mention that recent Sleep Dep entries ("Sleep Dentries") have been gloomy and suggestive of a sad or depressed state of mind. Not so.

Here is a picture of a boarded up primary school near my office: