I just fall.
Whenever, wherever you appear. I just fall.
You told me, that every now and again it’s best to stop and take a moment to admit to all the things that we don’t know. Stand on a corner, under a street light, let the night come and wait for your ignorance to fall out of your pockets like spare change. But I never had that much time (or money). So let’s start with what I do know and that is…whenever I see you, I just fall. Literally.
1 grazed knee.
1 bruised elbow.
1 smashed digital watch (old skool backlit LCD).
1 cauliflower ear.
1 small but very painful bump on the crown of the head.
1 chipped tooth.
1 torn calf muscle.
1 broken nose.
2 black eyes.
As if I’d gone to pray to the god of minor injuries and said ‘just give me a little bit of everything.’
The doctor described it as a massive loss of equilibrium produced for reasons his simple sciences could not explain.
Each prescription for another dose of painkillers was another merit badge of adoration. I found myself reading them before going to bed at night like love letters.
By the fourth visit to the clinic I had the doctor leaving the consultation room in tears. I tried to cut a deal with him on a psychosomatic diagnosis but he could tell I was really just trying to make him feel better. Which was true. I couldn’t stand to see him like that. There were fouler forces at play here and he knew it.
It was all in my head, but I didn’t put it there.
Here’s how it happens. You enter the field of vision and it’s game on.
Think of the body as a humble fishing trawler suddenly hit by a wave of biblical proportions. The legs forget what bones are for and that’s when all the sailors in my head simultaneously rush to the starboard side.
Then the colours come. I’m a television set jammed between the stations. But beneath the snow… the colours.
As if a string of Christmas lights has been fed through my skull from one ear to the other, and there’s you grabbing on one end and tugging your Electric Benwai Balls until my eyes are nothing but two peeled boiled eggs.
It’s usually about then the power goes out.
Later at the clinic, the desperate doctor asks me again while his eager interns crowd the door. “Who is she?”
At the Radiohead concert I dialed your number and held my phone up in the air to try and let you know how I felt without making eye contact.
There are fouler forces than nature in this world.
After the concert I checked my messages and found that you’d left a recording of the Spice Girls on my phone.
I still don’t know what that means.
I attempted to break the spell by going to my nearest shopping centre and running really, really fast the wrong way up the down escalator. A crude but hopeful method of reversing time. At the top I didn’t feel any different so I tried running backward down the up escalator. That’s when the security guards told me I had to leave. As if I didn’t already know that.
At night I wear a seatbelt in bed. When sleep comes, I’m assassinating Presidents for you. I’m fully armed and functional. The mohawk doesn’t suit but the khaki matches your eyes. We’re sweeping into nightclubs like computer viruses, rearranging the room so the light highlights all your best angles and then replicating ourselves to cover the dancefloor. A million lovestruck Hugo Weavings cutting the rug at supersonic speed.
At night I sleep beneath a pile of burning Autumn leaves and all this is possible.
By day it’s a different story. I fit my clothes like a bag of unwashed potatoes. I wear knee pads, a bicycle helmet and night vision binoculars as a form of contraception. My doctor is stalking me and my walls are papered with lipstick smudged x-rays and diagrams ripped from a seventies stunt man’s hand guide on how best to take a fall.
Does this seem weird to you?
Does my heart look fat in this?
Now I’m standing on a street corner and I’m searching deep in my pockets to find the one thing I know the least and the best I can come up with is: if two bodies fall in a forest and their lips briefly touch on the way down, does this count as a kiss?
This piece was specially comissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It appeared in the catalogue for a group exhibition of several artists titled Swoon. The only brief was the piece had to be written to the theme of Swoon.