The splurging of my vague thoughts on the head and the body and their relationship from my February blog eventually turned into a more formal short piece.
I think in some ways that’s the virtue of this sort of writing: setting down those free form foetal thoughts can spark off some more structured thinking. They can be your own provocation to make something which talks to the same themes with better articulation.
Also I don’t think I have ever got over my childish enjoyment of imagining being on the moon. Especially when it involves the moon and talk of itchy bums.
Anyway, here follows a short piece of fiction based on my thinking about the same stuff since then…
Step on the hard black lunar maria: this is hard packed basalt under the ordinary tread. We call these seas, vast hollows on the face of this unimaginable place.
Here is the foot, more used to prosaic streets, banal rest under sheets, beading shower water on the fine hairs. Here is this foot on the surface of the moon. Furthest foot still attached to a body collapsing under the madness of what it is to be here.
Mind is a riot with the tender violence of such absurdity: a soft body, subject of a finite lifespan here on the timeless face of the moon. What are you little gnat, godless sack of thinking meat? Your little vessel on the grey rimed surface of another world. When your light goes out you will pull this record with you. Will it be your last thought as the life goes shuddering out of you? That you, this softly expiring shell, once stood and watched the earth rise like the sun’s blue other?
Even here, there is disappointment because even here there is you. In this ink and velvet chaos the stars open and suck at you like the white mouths of newborns. Insane that your body still demands the ordinary gifts of food and water. In this ink and velvet chaos the glowing meniscus of your world is wreathed in a thousand weathers. Insane that an itch is starting in your arse.
You cannot escape the smallness of you, in the biggest, furthest, noblest moment of your life you remain a sack of blood and shit. You on the moon with an itchy arse, driving you mad with its parity to home.
When you go back, this will be a place that you have been, like Birmingham. And you will feel the great cemented mass of expectation: people expect you to be changed. They search your face for some alchemical transformation, some mystic wisdom brought back across light years. You cannot tell them that the poetry lies in distance, impossibility. You cannot tell them that up here you feel less god and beauty than you have leaning against fence, measuring the glowing tip of your cigarette against the size of stars, slashing the nacreous face of the moon with exhaled smoke.
Here is your mouth, mad with tasting itself, dry with the anxious rapidity of respiration. Your boots; dumb and round as cartoons planted in dust only twelve other men have touched. Suddenly you have the softest thought for that marbled sphere of blue, rust, white gold, pocked with lights on the dark side. You wonder what’s for dinner at home. Huge headed, bouncing like a toddler you cannot even fall as you would like under the immensity of that softest thought, which pulls you apart inside your suit. What’s for dinner at home?
Void in the cold chaotic void, you are a void, the most alone man, the last man. It seems stupid that this may run concurrently with all earth. That down there an awed hush has not stilled the manifold activities and preoccupations of every last man, woman and child, they have not stopped in a silent unison to look up and say one of us is standing, is at this precise moment standing on the surface of the moon. They no more stop for you than think in reverent genuflection someone is bored in the stale air of their office, someone is swimming in the sea, someone is puking after chemotherapy, someone is teaching children what numbers are for.
You laugh in your suit, mad as a bottled shout, silent as a smashed bell. You are the only witness to this cupped joy. Nothing matters. Everything matters. All at once everything, you the receptacle and recorder of all human meaning are fat as a bursting grub with how tender and ridiculous it is to be and feel knowing you will one day be and feel no more. On the face of the moon a man with an itchy arse is laughing and crying and breathing and being and jumping up and down leaving footprints in the dust of a world we’ll never go to, like inking a moustache on the face of God.