Near Window 23: Far Window

Today’s near window is a photo essay from Eliza Cox.

Eliza Cox is from Adelaide, and can currently be found in Paris. She takes a million photos but hasn’t posted anything on Instagram since 2017. She also has stacks of undeveloped film.

Near window 22

This post is feeling taylor swift

I miss the stars. I don’t see them in Paris I just see smog clouds and sometimes the moon but I miss seeing the big wide strip of the Milky Way over head.

Not that I’ve ever actually see the Milky Way , but sometimes when I press the heels of my hands into my eye sockets I think I can.

When I was little and I couldn’t sleep I used to do that so that I’d see stars. I would pick one of the blinking lights of colour and imagine myself rushing towards it. I imagined that once I reached it that would be the dream I’d have. Sometimes I fell asleep before I got there and sometimes I’d imagine a dream for myself instead of going to sleep. I haven’t done it in years but maybe I will tonight.

I miss sitting en terrasse in the sun with a beer sending tiny showers of fizz out of the cup like it can’t obtain its happiness at being poured and I can’t contain my happiness at being there to drink it.

I miss looking at a friend over a picnic table in some scuzzy London pub garden hardly holding the summer revellers in their revelry. 6 whatever-we’re-drinkings in, and suddenly deciding that we’re going out out.

I miss putting lippy on on the tube because I didn’t pack anything else and it’ll have to do.

I miss reclining on some slip in Buttes-Chaumont pretending to read a book but really just being there and being outside.

I miss my village pub.

I miss taylor’s sandwiches.

I even miss fucking l’attirail

Just want some free potatoes.

Instead I’ve got two windows and some new hand soap.

Near Window 21

D e m o t i v a t i o n

Yo. Sorry I’ve been away, I’ve been feeling pretty demotivated. I don’t really know what to write apart from « I watched tiger king and read a book and thought about what will happen when this is all over »

I feel like I’ve written a lot of lovely things about feeling bored, but writing about boredom is boring. I am bored of doing it. I’m sure you’re a bit bored of reading it. Besides, today I feel really sad, and writing anything at all has made my nose itch and Judas tears start to bud at my tear ducts so… you know, not sure I’m too hot on this any more. I’m sorry.

I went for a walk this morning. The trees are in leaf and I nearly cried and their newly minted green goodness and thought that things might be easier if I was a tree.

If I was a tree I could stand outside in the weather and wave my arms in the wind like a child. If I was a tree I’d shut myself up inside myself in the winter, draw all my sap to the core and wait it out sleeping. If I was a tree I’d grow new leaves every year and in some way be reborn in the spring. If I was a tree you could look inside and see my rings and see how long I’ve been living here. If I was a tree there’d be no obligation to isolate because I’d have no friends anyway because I’d be a tree.

Trees are witnesses, but they do not engage. Trees don’t write blogs for no one to read and they don’t try to have careers and they don’t have lives for people to approve or disapprove of. Trees don’t have to make decisions and they do t have to listen to anyone and they don’t have to do anything except make oxygen and even that I think they do without thinking too much about it.

It might be quite nice, i think.

To b a tree.

Guest Post Sunday: Spring and All by William Carlos Williams

This week’s guest post is written by Lucy Wallis. Of all the things to write about now, I find myself most often writing (and thinking and tweeting …

Guest Post Sunday: Spring and All by William Carlos Williams

I wrote a piece about William Carlos Williams’ Spring and All for the Isolation Book Club.

You should check out the rest of the posts for some wicked recommendations, thoughts, and gorgeous writing 🥰

Near Window 20

Time

This morning I said I’d get up, but I didn’t. I said I’d do work but I didn’t. I said I’d do a lot of things but I haven’t.

Instead I put on this song and danced in my room around the sunsquare, like the breeze coming in through the window, like hot coffee in the air.

Arm over arm dancing in euphoria thinking of all the times I’ve moved like this with someone else and realising that I much prefer moving like this by myself. Reason no.1 to be thankful.

Reason number two is that the song speaks to me so. About the way it feels to be inside, all these days as just one long day. Too much time to do anything, not enough time to get things done. All times are now, there is no now only always, there is no always except for…. except for what?

Time keeps on coming

I’ve been all around

I’ll keep on running

‘Til time catches on

I’ve been on the run

Except I’m not running. I’m inside. Windows flung wide.

Arms waving, body rippling like it’s underwater, legs out at an angle, sweeping under to project a leap to the corner of the room, I spin to face my audience of plants. They wave in the breeze, or in enjoyment, I don’t care which, I think it is the latter. The song becomes all songs, becomes heartbeat. Outside of my window I hear people cooking, I hear children in trouble, I hear a shower, I hear laughing. I do not hear my blackbird, still. They all make the song, the song becomes all of them.

My hair raises from its roots like I’m in antigravity. My arms become the boughs of a great weeping willow, my legs the swift river. My heart the beating hand of time striking my sternum as though to reverberate the ribs, my lungs the caged leaves , my mouth a furnace, my eyes two lonely headlamps on the shooters hill road. Fading, melting, passing through.

The song comes to an end and I am out of breath. I put it in again. Leaping like billy Elliot but badly, floorboards creaking slightly, carpet ruckled. I wonder if my sisters remember how I used to refuse to dance the steps they choreographed on our carpet, where moving from one flower to another was a significant move. It reminds me still of dancing to one ariana grande song on the dance dance revolution machine. It reminds me still of standing under a whole flock of swallows murmuring as they go to bed.

I don’t know if you’ve seen it, they move in the air like fish in water, a shifting mass of feathery bodies moving like one body. A murmur. My heart murmurs. My mouth murmurs, the radio murmurs. Paris murmurs. My body is my body and is a thousand swallows taking flight, a line of flight from the self beyond the wall. The french road for wall is mur. A double wall is a murmur. The music is a mur, I am a mur, together we murmur as swallows do. as I do. As moving is. As dancing does.

This time last year mum and I saw one at the quoits, the sky stained blue purple in sunset, the water rippling beneath like soft percussion, the wind still and the two of us holding our breath. When they feel overhead we wanted to spin under them, run with them, dance with them.

As the final notes play out through the speaker, the wind rattles the plants to make a rousing applause, a standing ovation, even the dead ivy on the sill rustles his brown leaves in appreciation.

Near Window 19: Far Window

Now I wander in confusion (4,6) – Megan Courtman

A window in Devon

I cried when I saw my crumpled crosswords.

The Roomba had mangled them, whirred over their edges and swept at their corners. The paper plains become crags and creases and trenches.

“Oh,” I said weakly, and sank to my knees.
What metaphor was this? Half-done, half-loved labour in tatters? How to explain my grief for these squares?

My finger hovered over the first of the puzzles. I dreaded the feel of it, hated those contours. I tapped at a peak, it pricked me right back. I looked at my littered letters in valleys.

“You can still do them,” husband comforted. “We can flatten them out – they’ll be just the same.” But what of the folds and the scars and the tears?
There is spirituality in perfect minutiae – in the crispness of bedsheets and pages and grids. This: the essence of the perfectionist’s faith.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. My sin of carelessness had begotten this plight. On the floor beneath the window I had discarded companions.

Several hours later I took husband’s advice: they are squeezed between tomes, like flowers in a press.

Faith is delicate, like a crossword.

Et in Arcadia ego.


Megan is studying data science and is currently teaching machines about crime. She still loves words though, especially crosswords. She can be found on Twitter, @CrypticMeg.

Near Window 17

The body is a cathedral

It is easter week.

For all lapsed catholics its an interesting thing, to remember the traipse to mass, the week long vigil you spend running back and forth to church. The emotional release of maundy thursday, weeping in a pew for all those whove gone before, holding vigil like youre in gethsemene yourself. Good Friday when you try not to put your lips to the feet of jesus because you cant bear the thought of all the lips on jesus’ wooden feet so you make a parody bise. You stoop and you pucker your mouth, and then you get up quick before anyone can stop you. To arriving on Saturday night, to find the tabernacle open and all the lights extinguished. Then, one by one, candles are lit from the bonfire, from the easter candle, spreading throughout the church until youre all bathed in the amber light of the flame, a symbol of the rekindling of faith after all was lost in grief and pain and death the night before.

I feel emotional just thinking about it. I sometimes miss the ritual, i miss the comfort and surety of faith. But i have none, and the doctrine sits wrongly with me these days.

The coming of spring is like the lighting of the candles for me. Illuminating each day more and more as the candles illuminate the faces of the congregation. What a beautiful sight it must be for the priest, to see the faces of your flock flare into becoming from the darkness. What a beautiful thing it is for me to see light restored to mornings and evenings, and watch new leaves and new flowers spring from where there was nothing before.

From my confinement hole, i feel like as the spring becomes, i flare into becoming myself. Awakening from the slow death of winter, like Juliet from her fake death, Except only to find Romeo dead by her side. I awake from mine to find the spring is dead, too. It might as well be, because I can’t access it. The blackbird has stopped singing for some reason, i feel like another little piece of the spring has died with it.

Ive got an ivy plant a friend left in paris for me. He’s survived the whole winter. A couple of days ago he started to look sad so i watered him and popped him out on the windowsill for some sun. Today i saw he’d died. Once green leaves are now shriveled and brown, rustling in the breeze. The amber hush of an unseen sunset blushing a wall in the distance. A square of springtime allowed to me, so brief, so fleeting. Empty and void as the tabernacle after a good friday mass, i hold vigil in the hope that some good may come of it.

I wrote to a friend about Marconi’s notion that sound never dies. I talked about the notion that, if that were true, it would mean that every word you have said or heard is recorded in you, reverberating on your skin or in your blood. She said, then, that triggering things must reverberate on the same frequency as that which they trigger. I said that that was like how in cathedrals, when choristers sing, they have to sing in a certain way to bounce the sound. She said, then, if your body were a cathedral, how would the choristers sing?

On easter sunday, the spring is allowed into the church. Its been becoming on the outside for a long time, but the church in its lenten austerity has barred it from entering at its heavy doors. On easter sunday, though, the church is resplendent in gold and green. Daffodils bob their merry heads, and green gold leaves spill over from the alter. Even the priest dons green and gold on his cassock to welcome it in.

Maybe spring is a sound, as well as sight. Maybe throughout lent, it sings in mass, but not in a way to allow it to reverberate fully within the cathedral. Maybe On easter sunday it opens its lungs and sings fully. Maybe throughout the long winter, the spring sings in the cathedral of our bodies, and with each flare of spring-flame lit, on each candle of a day, the spring sings louder within and without us.

If this is the unsprung spring, one which came into being only to be shut out, then perhaps it awakens in me the singing of all the springs which came before it. It is spring in me as much as it is spring out there.

It is spring in me as much as it is spring out there.

Disclaimer: took this snap a long time before confinement. Don’t start thinking I’d take my lapsed self out to mass during confinement when I haven’t been in about 10 years ✌️

Near Window 16: One near one far

I listened to the queen.

You can find here two poems about listening to the queen. One from @extrajugo and one from me. Both written following the queens speech. Not that I didn’t like the speech, which I did, and not that that negates my anti-monarchy political leanings. But just that I thought you’d enjoy these two specimens.

The whale in question

Near window 15

Anarchopenguins

Well – what are you doing?

Not very much. I’ve been lying on the carpet for 45 minutes. The sun square came and went. I opened a book for 7 minutes. I listened to the radio for half that time. I made a tea. Sipped it. Forgot it. Microwaved it. Forgot it again. Tipped it in the sink.

Right. Don’t you think you ought to do something? You know, something like read one of those books you’ve got in a pile over there, or learn how to conjugate some irregular verbs or like something?

Yeah.

Well why aren’t you?

Dunno. Don’t really want to. Do u see that crack on the wall there?

No

There.

No.

Well there’s a crack on the wall there that looks like Antarctica and I was just wondering what my name would be if I was a penguin. Do penguins have names do you think? Do u think if penguins had thumbs they’d have kings, or presidents? Or if penguins are doing just fine in a kind of anarchopenguin kind of a way. A self governing mass of bodies who don’t kill each other or corral others of their number to work in penguin factories whilst the fat penguins get fat on the profits or something?

What r u talking about?

Penguins.

Right. What about those books?

I don’t really have any books on penguins, which is a shame because it would be interesting to know what penguin society is like.

You could google it?

No, I can’t really be bothered to google anything.

Do u think that the reason dictators are so dictatorial is because they get possessed by sovereignty?

Wait… what?

You know – like, Cos we don’t really have kings anymore. Now that we’ve divorced kingship from deity, dictators are like kings but divorced from the idea of god. It’s like we build dictators almost to have a kind of god that we can touch. Not like a king because a king is directly chosen by god. Maybe penguins live in an anarchic community without a state bc they never had a religion by which they could judge each other.

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

It’s just a thought I had. That penguins don’t have dictators because they never needed gods.

Honestly what are you talking about? We don’t even have dictators

Some people do.

Mmm…

I think penguins r probably what humans wish they could be u know. One of my friends says penguins r gay and two dads raise eggs and all the other penguins r just totally chill with it. Like they have surrogate pengmums and they all huddle in stormy weather to keep warm. Tbh she’s just sent me an insta dm that says she’s not 100% sure about the queerness of penguins. The Queerness of Penguins would b a good album title. anyway I heard they give each other betrothal pebbles and in happy feet they’ve all got their own special song. If I were a penguin what would my song be do you think?

Probably something shit, knowing u.

Rude.

Mmm.

Anyway – I wasn’t really thinking about penguins. I was wondering how long that crack in the wall has been there and whether or not we should paint it I over. Do you think it looks more like the Seine? Or thé RATP?

I thought u said it looked like Antarctica. Why do u keep putting the accent on the ?

Thé phone keeps correcting it and I can’t be bothered to correct it back. Plus it adds a little flavour whilst not making any sense which is quite interesting. What is language anyway? Do penguins have one? Does the Seine?