Tuesday, 23 June 2009

This second person - who is it? What freedom is allowed by him (for it is certainly a man)? Just as this dull day draws to an inevitable closing, what freedom is allowed by you, my second person?

Perhaps now you are working at your table, opposite another. Perhaps now you are mining a dictionary or reading, looking up for a moment at a play of light upon the floor. Where you see colours, I do not. I often think that I have a limited capacity to appreciate the visual. Perhaps my vision is all washed out as well as blurred, everything looks to me like the seventies do in photographs.

I too am working at a table here, the day after or the day before. I am opposite another. She is with a camera; in front of her a pale yellow cup. What have you been doing all day? I have done nothing, achieved nothing. The winds have stirred outside all day, enough so that it has never grown warm.

Briefly we upped and left, she and I, but the sunshine refused to warm our bloods and we had something approaching an argument. There we were talking loudly, arguing perhaps, by the canal in weak sunshine. Can you imagine such a sight? We walked on and on, eventually retreating into an old east German courtyard with one enormous exposed flank of wall and stables at the base. A row or garages too, perpendicular, and in them a workman and his apprentice. The apprentice showed us silkscreen frames, we had forgotten everything - our dimensions, our money and our German.

Then we returned slowly, walking gradually through the day. The animosity faded and now we are sitting quietly doing our own things. She is there with a camera taking photographs of books. I am sitting here writing to you. What are you doing? Can I safely say, in so many words, that love is overtaking us both? What need is there for extensions of logic? I prefer unexpected tangents, a skip across rocks, with a path traced later in recollection.

More news today, then. I am sure you have read it. In fact, no doubt you have read it. I imagine you always reading, you, far cleverer and suited to writing than I. What do you make of Iran, of this place I truly know nothing of? Can you, like me, only really comment on the secondaries: the use of social media, the reception of the twittering classes, the creations of agencies starved of first-person reportage, the delayed echoes of presidential condemnation? You surely have more to say on the matter than I.

But then, of course, we are both framed by events, sure we are. These are the marks by which we measure the river as it rises with the unaccustomed early summer rain and falls with welcomed autumnal heat. These are the marks by which we measure our petty grievances and the stray lives through which we hope to influence our own paths. Marks, second person, marks and wasted days and the freedoms you allow me. These words I address to you with all hope of a reply.

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