Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday at the Library

Post binge, I have the intelligence of a toddler, and I can do nothing but take hot baths and forced naps. For a few days, at least, I have sworn to take no poison, and, lately, I've made it a habit to keep these stupid oaths. This one is short-term and easy. In a week or two I will be worse than ever.

I have been researching nature and have come to the conclusion that as animals we are shit. Last night I watched a movie alone in an underground theatre. It ended with the world on fire. When I came home, I pissed in the sink and polished off some gin. The world won't burn tonight, unfortunately, but this is my house, so I have the right to start a little fire. I burned old family photographs out of principle. I didn't expect the sadness.

And then I phoned you up and said: In the morning let's meet in the library and discuss the new renaissance. We can get drunk--no one goes to libraries anymore. I am serious. And isn't there something sexy about the book stacks and the dust and the open space and the girl in the corner with her nose immersed in history? We'll drink warm beer because it tastes like the 12th or 13th century. We will of course resort to violence because I won't be in the mood to read.

What time? When it opens.

I rode my bike not expecting the hangover to hurt me. I went fast; when I arrived I was sweating. The ride, though, was exhilarating, and when I met her at the entrance, my heart was beating on another level. She had to calm me down.

Sweetheart, I said, let's go to the seventh floor. I have something to tell you. Don't be mad, but last night I challenged your husband to a duel. Guns, of course. Why? Because it is the most Zen thing that men can do (it wasn't over you)*. So, of course, we didn't go through with it, because of, you know, the danger and all the practical implications of death and injury. Oh I'll just come out and say it: you really are a magnificent bitch. I would read to you--Byron, probably--but just the other night I realised that books are terribly complicated and I don't understand a word of them.

*because you are a slut who freely mates with both of us.

So let's drink warm beer until we are comfortable being the shitty animals we are. If we were better hunters or had substantial fur, my dear, we wouldn't be in this mess at all. We would stroke each other--possibly well-camouflaged in our cozy little environmental niche--and eat our kill with our bare hands! We wouldn't need books. Wouldn't it be lovely if you were cute, you floozy? But, please, come look, for I am hairy. Woof! Woof! Woof! Oh darling, don't you dare pretend to read. Come, let us forget that we know words. Let us howl on the top floor of this dusty old bibliotheque. Do you know how to get on the roof?

No... Can I tell you a story? When I was young, often I would come home late from school. My mother would ask where I had been and what I had been doing. I always said "nowhere" and "nothing." I never told her about James and his heroin or Geoffrey and his dirty magazines. Isn't that a lovely story? Now let me help you off with that. Or does the girl in the corner make you nervous? It's all right--I'm still tired from the ride, and, anyway, I'm just about ready to croak!

I almost forgot why we came here! If the world does all set fire, what we need are good stories. And of course we'll do away with money. Sweetheart, I know it sounds harsh, but I think we should guillotine the theorists. People now suspect they are full of shit but are too shy to say so, but, in the case of a global disaster, it would be as obvious as your crooked nose. Should we ask the girl in the corner reading Holinshed's Chronicles (yawn!) what she thinks? I feel so rude not offering her a drink. Oh darling, did I mention that on days like this I tend to be a child!?


S. M. Hoffmann said...

I hope you don't mind if I encourage you to write more often—I love reading your posts but it's a rather infrequent pleasure.

kathy said...

An infrequent pleasure indeed! Nigel, why the tease? First you break my heart by giving a dramatic "goodbye" and then re-appear suddenly, more a recluse than ever! Every time I read the poetry of Tim Lilburn, I'm reminded of you; such terribly complex creations.