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Blue days

in Ark Review/Musings by

These days are blue. I feel too light. I sit in the kitchen writing this, going nowhere.

I have started watching the HBO-show Big Little Lies with a good friend and fries on Wednesdays. The show is in short about the life of rich stay-at-home moms, and someone getting murdered. It takes place in Monterey, a blue laguna setting with beaches, glittering sunbathed waves. Parents pick up their kids from school, gossip over drinks, have secrets. Dull and serene.

What I adore about the show is the use of slow, cinematic realism. It’s a realism I recognise from movies depicting lower class life to make social progress, that is the right not to be misunderstood. What translates is the need for being earnest.

The best example I can remember is the movie Rust and Bone by French filmmaker Jacques Audiard. The scenes are usually long and a little off beat. Nothing in the scenes are put there to be aesthetically pleasing or have symbolic value. Rather, what is already there as inventory carries its meaning. The aquarium; a young boy is seen walking behind in his aunt’s house. His body and face reflect in the water, colorful fish swim around. It is clear, the feeling of being caught and something beautiful.

In a scene in a car, a woman driving her kid to school, I notice the camera seems to be at the same time unfocused and focused on everything. Gently awaiting the scene to evolve.

One thing about realism I want to talk about is absurdity.

In the intro to Big Little Lies the women of the show catwalk to the camera, almost like they are dancing. Their clothes are old fashioned, out of time. A performance. They walk to the camera with odd looks on their faces.

These days are blue. I feel too light. I sit in the kitchen writing this, going nowhere.

Yesterday when I was boiling noodles, observing how the damp stirred on the surface, I thought, “what constitutes power must be a feeling of entitlement.” I ran the fork through the noodles like a sad caress.

I sit in the lukewarm chair at the psychiatrist’s office, the room after the waiting room, dark curtains, low air-condition. She has asked me the introductory questions. It is the moment she gets up, collects her papers, some kind of fear flickers like her face is momentarily ruined. She looks scared. I try to sit still, calm her.

 

In the trailer to Big Little Lies Nicole Kidman voiceover:

I’m trying to decide whether I’m happy or sad

People usually know

 

I looked up Kristen Stewart the other day to see how she was doing. I saw her in Clouds of Sils Maria. She is a great actor. I thought of when she was in Twilight. Those movies are more about idealism than realism. And idealism is not a bad thing per se. But some ideas are better than others. First I wrote it is the idealism of heterosexuality, but now when I think about it, what I think I mean is, everything is romantic: Her unhappiness, her unhappiness, her unhappiness.

Perhaps Madame Bovary’s disease is not boredom. It’s being trapped as a character in someone else’s novel, writes Kate Zambreno.

 

I recently reread Sex and the City (yes, the book, not the show) It’s extremely badly written, but not on purpose, not aware of itself in that way. It’s messy and fragmented. Characters randomly disappear. It is a lot darker than the movie. No one seems to believe they are in love, or if they are they don’t care. Instead, they take a lot of drugs (I assume this was cut out of the television series for obvious reasons.) I adore the nihilistic tone of this. I’m somehow sure that this is what Deleuze must have been feeling when he wrote, “we are the last generation to whom things really matter.” This is the book-version of Carrie and Mr. Big:

The sunlight was almost white. They drove around, went to the beach, and ate lunch and talked about how beautiful it was, and how casual they felt.

Are we friends? asked Carrie

There was a time, when we really were friends. When I felt like you understood my soul, said mr Big. They drove on the small, curvy, cemented streets.

 

And then: A cut-up version of Howl like the acoustic version of a song:

 

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, night after night, with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and balls

who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,

who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,

who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,

who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,

who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night,

who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain,

who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup

a hopeless task

who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets,

who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons,

who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,

who blew and were blown

who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely

to whomever come who may,

who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword,

who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar

who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision

who sweetened the snatches of a million girls

trembling in the sunset

red eyed in the morning

naked in the lake

of these poems

lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards

with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely

petticoat upliftings

who faded out

were shifted in dreams

picked themselves up out of basements

hung-over

heartless

stumbled to unemployment offices

& their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion

lung heart

who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown

not even one free beer

who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision

who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes

who fell on their knees praying for each other’s salvation and light and breasts

left with their insanity

who were given instead the concrete void

to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame

etc, etc

She works underpaid jobs and talks more about writing than she actually gets down to it. She likes american writers who have lost their mind at one point or another. She likes Hilton Als, Carrie Mae Weems, the first poems by Eileen Myles, juice, Nell Zink and others.

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