On the floor before an open archetypal round glass door that is mesmeric window to the foamy, jerky, agitating, perpendicular semi-circular to and fro, humming, sploshing splush of wet materials, she’s perched; in her hand, poised in the round aperture, a rag is readying for descent into the depths of the recesses of the rubber boot that coils a seal at the appliance entrance point.
“They get very yukky, grimy, slimy. I crave to see the statistic that reveals just how seldom there’s a thought to clean inside them – because I think that type of data minutia is material witness to the intrinsically inept, micro particle component of the macro ‘civilization’ coagulate that is characterised by stupidity – I mean, why devise, construct and put out something that has such design flaw – the flaw being compound, complex, ranging from conceptual misrepresentation, through incompatibility incongruity with end user market segment likelihoods, through insufficient theoretical, drawing board projection for optimally clinched functionality – the industry implies that they are supplying something completely, self-sufficiently roboticised, that there is no aspect of the thing’s functioning that requires a regular, additional, human attentiveness that you just cannot expect of the average human being anyway? Well, the industry lies, or fabricates, or it is inventive with wish fulfilment to bridge high-minded illusion with the actual item that leaves the production floor, or, marketing side-steps full disclosure of the specs by naming the product something that it isn’t; so, there’s the fine print in the manual that suggests ‘care of the machine’, but who really reads those pieces of technical literature, really, how many people can really read, really? Really, really read – you know, process to full comprehension in applied, efficacious, responsive action? Whoever follows those instructions? Really? Let alone, can the manual be trusted in translation, type, linguistic accuracy or content reliability?”
The rag plunged invisible inside the rubber casing, her arm propelling it with gravity back and forth in a fulcrum, is like the rhythmic regulation of a mechanised, turning machine.
“Imagine newspaper ads, magazine spreads, telegraphy and digital media campaigns, web site pages, imagine potential customers, say a newly married couple, on the floor of your common appliance store with the salesperson”, easily she slips into a bromide character familiar to one and all:
“‘Now here madam, at the bottom of the range, we have the economical “almost-automatic”. Then, over here, the middle of the range, a hot seller, the “not-completely-fully-automatic” and, over here sir, our prize model, not yet rivalling, but becoming quite virtually, nearly compatible with the trans-humanist movement*1 and, my personal recommendation, the “almost-completely-fully-automatic”! We do suggest, if you decide on this little beauty, that you sit the manual reading test in that little cubicle over there, it’ll only take ten minutes, but it will ensure your purchase as satisfied customers, because, of course, as we’ve set out in the manual which must be followed, this machine still does require dedicated human interaction, intervention . . .’
Yeah! – relationship. You gotta get to know the thing, find out about it, work out its workings; they don’t just drain – the rubber boots. Every wash, another puddle with more residue just accumulating there with what was left last from the previous cycle which mingles with the fresh water that’s supposed to tackle the new load. And then? At the rinse? Pillow slips and towels, getting pristine for your precious face? No. Water that was supposed to work them clear circulates through the puddle concentrate of runny egg and mayonnaise deposits off your son’s apron that’s served shifts at the gentry’ club cafeteria and gritty paste off your son’s socks that have cycled past spluttering street drains in the rain. The ads for these current contrivances and their detergents”, she laughs, “‘Hygienically Clean!’? Yeah, if your elbow presides enforcement of habitual machine preen; I’ve seen the supposedly washed cloths that wipe the dishes the hoi – polloi eat off of in their full-of-pomp diner – EEuw!” She laughs again, pulling at the rubber boot like an ophthalmologist lifting and upturning an eyelid to inspect the underside of it.
“My upbringing programmed into me that the door should be left open when the machine is not in use, to release the condensation. But the boot isn’t designed to implement a self drying process and it doesn’t dry. Ever. It can’t. The space is a perfect perpetuator of dark and dank, with faultless re-supply of moisture and food, sustaining undetected, undisturbed, exponential black and green growth. It’s infinity party place for high class mould.”
With a hand on the bend of a back stretching out, standing up she deals with the rag at the sink, “the boot is really good when it’s dry, clean, the rough rubbery, blue-gray smooth manufactured condition it came in” and then turns and flicks the kettle switch with an ‘aah’ of conquest satisfaction in her exhale, palpable, contagious.
“Ideally, one should run a dry cloth around the inside of the boot after every load. That is, if one is truly, domestically aware, ‘Zen and The Art of Machine Maintenance’*2 and all that, appreciating the being, loving it, honouring it, ensuring it purrs, in a gratitude for and a pleasure in its existence, that it exists in one’s very own life, extending a facility. That’s a quick thing to do, a little manoeuvre tucked into the systematic post-routine of taking the clean wash out of the machine. It’s when, like me, here, now, you’re having to wash in a machine that’s been neglected by a whole lot of other people before you, that raiding the high class mould party and restoring the boot back to neutral position is such a major, puff and pant investment job.”
Boiling water swirls spouting onto tea bags. “To say nothing of respecting the immense gift of having clothing and linen and prolonging the life of their fabric. ‘It can be done’, with a forefinger pointing emphasis to the reference, she mimics some generic figure. “I have two, going-out T-shirts. That’s it. They’re five to six years old. I’ve looked after them, hand washed, manually ironed, by the way they get hung on the line and folded when dry…” She’s replacing the milk lid, pouring tea into mugs.
“Yeh, so, this is all balderdash right? Irrelevant, inconsequential, non sequitur, incongruous to think it’s warranted to take the liberty of talking about such stuff? ‘Ra Ra, Hoo-Hah,’”, she sounds out like the obnoxious Senator from Montana on the glacier in the movie ‘Shooter’, “‘who cares’? Who cares that anyone cares for their machines and their clothes, how non-important that there are those who can inventorise the sum total of their wardrobe in their head in a moment? Meanwhile, behind closed doors of many a western closet, rampantly incestuous attire breeding programmes go on. In 2007 a smart Dublin journalist regaled her readers with her self applause in a piece about having done a clean out to discover that she had seventy handbags in her cupboard? I wasn’t sympathetic, to her journalism either. Piles of elapsed material matter clogging up in unseen fetter. Then yank on a door or a drawer, drag out a garment, put it on, wear it, take it off, throw it in the wash, bung the wash in the machine with oodles of all-in-one soap powder fabric softener, haul the load to the line, flop it on creased, take it off bungled in a heap awaiting more hours and electric to get it all straight with the iron, ‘poor me, onerous chore that I’ve got to fit into a day that’s already too short’…A nephew of mine will wear a pair of jeans once, for a few hours only and then drop them on the floor for his wife to pick up and put them in the wash, while he goes back to the cupboard to pull out something fresh to put on.”
The tea is warm, with sun and blue sky through a large kitchen window, ballast against perturbing signs that autumn soon bodes the time when washing can’t be drying freely by the whipping wind, outdoors on the line. Quietly intense, she’s pondering her way around thematic content in a subject obviously more provocatively profound than originally presented.
“It’s about presumptions, assumptions, wearing illusory prowess identities, denials. World views. Value systems. It’s about consciousness. In everything. For everything. It’s about macro intelligence in the micro. Micro intelligence for the macro. Miniature details of life that amount to where you get to, by the how of your going, incidental mechanisms taken for granted in a rush by, little white lies that conspire to contrive, while individuals, groups, hide from actual truth in image charade. It all accrues to the bloody, big mess up strewing around all over as by-product of humanity’s effort to deem itself rarefying into sophisticatedhoodness by automatic revolving; yet it’s just self-important hype of heinousness that’s the very suffocation of the very existence of a sentient planet – the movie Baraka*3 states it, one time, bam, a mind-fucking quantity of decommissioned airplanes hijacking the breathtaking desolateness of vast deserts into interminable military graveyards – why? What right did elements of the species have to perpetrate this? The abandoned contempt of self importance in the act of transitory negligence, like at wash load time? That puts us in the precipitous step of marching a composite hell and chaos that’s regressing everything that’s pure and good into extinct.
What do they say, something like, when a butterfly fans its wings in Asia there’s a hurricane all the way over in an opposite hemisphere? I used to believe so, no, own, as a convinced known, that I could charge love and peace with intent in every extra, few buffs to make my little boy’s shoes really shine, so that under mandate somewhere on the globe, a soldier would hesitate, stop, look around distracted, and his weapon wouldn’t be fired in that moment. I mean, what does a defenceless mother do when her children are under threat, and she’s in a dementia of heightened sanity, wrestling the volatile power of an all-engulfing, gouging, torrential rage at the blasé of a reckless, consequential unconsciousness, entirely damaging utterly unto irreversible, in harm that cannot be undone? The mother can only wield self force to imbue herself with some sort of fantastical, mental superpower attribute to deflect and ward off encroaching, evil, predatory abuse.
I’m constantly contemplating the material, psychological torment Palestinian women must go through with the incessant, brutal mentality that wrests hopes of hearth and home from their hearts and breasts. I’m trying to draw rational, strategic strength; with all available prongs of my grime detector plunged into this rubber boot, I’m going to get at every last, utter molecule of dirt in, on, behind and under everything else too, in an extreme case of emergency Space Clearing. I think that’s what those women would do. Practically, when there’s nothing else that can be done because of surging fury at injustice that will not move, and when inflicted with the ache of mother-hurt, boring the skull blindly skew, clearing and cleaning can always be turned to. And it happens to be useful that I’m a seasoned, experienced, Space Clearing practitioner, that’s why I’m here, doing what I’m doing, because a bully of a man who disguised himself in the paint of trustworthy kin molested my child.”
She’d said that there was something that needed saying, but that she didn’t want to say it because she knows that nobody wants to be hearing, but she’s said it. It’s out. She’s leaning against a cabinet; a toss of her head turns a stern visage to the window, she stares, as if, out there, somewhere beyond the glass, her candid words are set to the tune of a sentient multiverse rehabilitating audience.
“The concept of clean versus dirty is material factor, a crux of all things we’re all dealing with, all the time. The Abrahamic religions made it so. A woman is unclean when she’s in her blood time and untouchable, pig’s meat is unclean and should not be consumed, and so it goes on, a detailed delineation of theological law forbiddenisms that might challenge the overarching reach of The Lisbon Treaty. (Or p’raps not.) The governing notion of learning to discern clean for good living had rational, practical implications in the original impetus, life skills really, but the predilection to exert, and inert, by rigidity without principle, has warped down the centuries, so that hysterical, dirt dualism now really binds so-called civilized westerners. Reflexively they deem the very components of the ground we live on to be unclean, ergo, think sand and earth, think filthy. I’ve had essays constantly raising this subterfuge since last century.*4
Then Skinner and bunch*5 got hold of social engineering tactics and implemented universal schooling and education resulting in the additional contortion of being systematically duped into allowing ourselves to become super uneducated about the basic operational necessities in our everyday functioning. Every time I tend my nails, still, I am haunted by an aerial view recall of my grade 2 classroom and taunted by recollection of an arbitrary bit of teacher’s handwriting in a roneod font on a handout for ‘Nature Studies: the cuticle should be pushed back to prevent it splitting at the base of the nail’. I wasn’t being taught about my body, nor shown practically how to do the living of my daily life; I was being fed some sort of offalesque mind control mechanism so that I could regurgitate myself within the ‘sausage machine’ system. Just an arrangement of irrelevant words rendered unintelligible to me, the sentence was to be memorised parrot fashion, as if it were some sort of quantum code that would one day be necessary to unlock a permission. It took me years to decipher that this was informative instruction for regular hand manicure application. Now self-determining shrewdness for discrimination in body care has been substituted by the chicanery of artificial chic clamour. The spritzz, spritzzing atomisation of tin can sprays going off all over, buzzing toxic haze everywhere, all the time, the stench of nasal contaminant and confused electromagnetic spreading a minimum pollution radius of three metres, with durations extending into hours. It takes only one predictably toiletry compliant lady to pass by and her synthetic airspace can prolong lasting incident of up to a whole day if there are no fresh gusts of organic respiratory aid circulating to clear the place.
My first experiences of serious chemical assault were on the haute night streets of Aan-Dangan-nee-Coosh in 2006, the echoing click-clack of high heel audio hovering with the gargoylesque, cloying reek of hordes of wafting ladies and girls passing by. I used to wear Opium, Chanel, Anais Anais; the class grooming that I was privy to taught me that expensive fragrance was the only option and that application should be delicate, for a subtle effect, short, modest tzzts on the nozzle aimed directly and specifically at power points on the neck and wrists. What is it that these females are blaring? Soaps, bath oils, body lotions, deodorants, cheap perfumes? It’s likely most of these substances contain goodly amounts of Alzheimer promoting aluminium, and why such eager compliance to douse genuine, wholesome body odours and mask authentic, functioning, anatomical, chemical self? Natural, healthy, robust, pleasurable, pure workings of pheromones are entirely ruined and the infringement of this personal sanitation habit is a human rights contravention. It invades and consumes other people’s body space. It’s outright unfeasible and inequitable to prohibit tobacco smoke in public places, if there isn’t also equally severe penalty upon the hapless spreading of common, chemically pollutant odours in communal spaces.”
Having rolled a cigarette, she’s tap bouncing it on the smooth back of her Capricorn engraved, Zippo lighter, her thumb flips the lid, spins the wheel, a spark flashes, the flame ignites and takes on the paper. She flicks the Zippo closed, blows the lit end gently till the paper’s flaring and curling into ash, then she blows at the ash plosively and a dispersal of fluttering flecks disappears into the air. She flips the Zippo lid again, spins the wheel, puts the gerrick end of the cigarette between her lips, touches flame to the now seared tip, draws, clucks the Zippo closed, exhales a trail of smoke.
“It might seem like extreme gall and hypocritical irony that I can say these things, and then smoke. But I’ve worked it out, understood it, I’ll talk about that too, sometime, especially since all the sacred traditions consider breath to be holy. When we walked into this house, within minutes of being in the environment, we were choking. Electrically driven, automatic atomisers spurting regular bursts at the skirtings, hanging deodoriser patches continually emitting head-height waves, every ceramic and sanitary device glistening sickly sweet, oxygen depleting whiffs and, from under the sink, out of boxes, bottles, cans, in colourful, flowery, consumer coercive ‘buy me’ packaging to extort extensive cash crashing, the detergent cupboard cumulatively reeking a nostril prickling, cough tickling provocation. It costs a bomb for the bomb going off in trickling, slow, noxious destruction in one’s anatomy in the sanctity of one’s home. Well Meaning Detergent’s?
Well, we might have a deep problem, if we go by hot-off-the-web data! DNA is a chemical, a gas, it has outlasted every specimen of every species that has ever inhabited the planet; this, an omnipotence, may indicate that DNA is God, thus God could be a chemical, a gas, and this adolescent species is saturating the biosphere, atmosphere, stratosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere with killer chemicals”, finger to her lips she whispers satirically, “toiletries, detergents and emissions could be killing God – a little more serious than global warming don’t you think!*6
I’m aghast upon entering domestic bathrooms. Even where inhabitants claim the nobility of poverty, on ledges, window sills, cupboard shelves, bottles, bottles, bottles, tubes, tubs of various supermarket purveyed, toiletry substances…how? Where’s the budget? And why? We’re four: there’s a soap, and a shampoo, hair gel, hair wax, a roll on deodorant, a toothpaste, five containers in the bathroom, no sprays; detergents amount to seven types: bleach, wash powder, dish washing liquid, glass cleaner, brass rub, shoe polish, all purpose wipe retained only for sanitising before and after a period of rental; toiletries and external remedies comprise only: a tub of cream base, witch-hazel, home made lemon toner, evening primrose oil, a precious collection of aromatherapy essential oils, wheat germ oil, baby powder, surgical spirits, vapour rub, Wecesin powder, pure iodine, Olbas, Zambuk, henna powder.*6b
When we were down south, there was a TV ad for an insecticide, ‘Yard Guard’. We used to laugh at how much we would need to buy to spray across our 31 hectares of virgin, African Wilderness to effect what the manufacturers claimed their product could achieve, literally, a dead Earth.”
Some muddy rugs and a level teaspoon of soap powder are doing a foamy, jerky, agitating, perpendicular semi circular to and fro humming, splosh and splush. Round the corner, in the corner of the scullery off the kitchen, warm tea cup enfurled in her hands, feet up and under, she’s curled on a large, soft, floral sofa. The room is full of sunlight.
“What is clean and what isn’t, what’s dirty, it can be turned and turned about. A kid, playing in mud, is getting his immune system up. A mound of meticulously, diligently, hand sorted, bio-degrading compost is about the most wholesome clean one can assert – it’s hot, it’s cooking, it’s alive with superlative ferment, out of waste from one’s life? Now isn’t that an inversion! Isn’t that miraculous, magical, alchemical.
I’ve lived through two hideous stories now, where I’ve been forcibly subjected to the grotesque candour of uninformed, self-righteous women, vilifying the biological demeanour of uncircumcised phalluses – I’m still nauseatingly horrified when I remember the bigoted, cackling attitude that presided – talk about what the pot called the kettle, don’t phallic phobic women have any idea what they’re harbouring in their own orifices? But then the clean, dirty hang-up has always been imposed conveniently upon our sexuality in tenets of both prohibition and also promulgation of promiscuity.*7
I had a Hare Krishna friend I would meet up with regularly, synchronistically, even though he lived 1000 kilometres away from me in another city. Our conversation of mutual choice was cleaning. He would talk about the practicalities and spiritual honour of washing pots in the temple. A basic grace to be so in touch with the details of mundane, practical tasks and space, a definite route to enlightenment, I’m convinced; Mahatma Ghandi led people by example to attend to their own mess and it is said that one day he bent down in all humility and compassionately picked up a shit. It’s about rediscovering really real and authentic, and distinguishing what real dirt really is. It’s serendipity to be comfortable with one’s own natural body odours. It’s telling to discover where ‘stink’ comes up in someone’s vocabulary. I’m with Walt,*8 with Thoreau, out in nature, finding individual conscience as compass for guidance to liberation. Doesn’t anybody read these philosophers, these teachers, these transcendentalists anymore?
When I got here, to this house, I felt the welcome of its simple aesthetic finish; on the face of it, set in a pretty garden on a quaint farmyard, glorious barns with useful artefacts from antiquity, but, sinking, in amidst and under the splayed mess that is proof of modern man’s propensity to ignore what’s only going to accrue to be construed as piles of inordinate, uncoordinated rubbish, litter, and, the stink. The acrid stink of fabric softener, burning my nostrils, stifling me every time I breathed. Diagnosis ascertained it was emitting from the mattress cover, so I rinsed and dried it, took a good sniff at it, gasped; I rinsed and dried it repetitively over two days establishing conclusively that there was no improvement, so I realised to remember that the offender would be the detergent dispenser. These little, plastic contraptions don’t just rinse by themselves. Ever. It has to be impressed upon the end user to try and put the soap in neatly, and then rinse the area with extra water and rubbing fingers. Fabric softener is heinous, the worst and so unnecessary. I can’t see that it doesn’t damage the molecular texture of materials. It spreads a glutinous, amorphous mass that will not clear and it dispenses far further than just inside the dispenser. Dregs are always there infiltrating the rinse after every new wash. We got in to the machine with screwdrivers to get at the dispenser because I’d cut my hand trying to reach inside it and, on the outside of it was a brown, mucous-like goo portending in an impending drip. Nowadays one has to be as vigilant about making sure one’s washing powder is additive free as one has to be about choosing the flour one buys. All-in-one powders with fabric softener built in are hazard. Paradoxically, it seems, the art of shopping is to train the eye to spot the most unappealing packaging. No-name brands appear least pungent.
I do love washing machines. When they’re in good enough nick to resuscitate them and keep them clean. The older models mostly always are. The technological aid makes it a joy to wash teddy bears and winter jackets, blankets, all the heavy items that are strength onerous by hand.
When my oldest was born we were determined to go the old fashioned route, so we were spending all of his precious sleeping hours washing nappies by hand. We did have a few disposables, during the very first days and for emergencies, or when we were going out on an extended visit. Then we were given an old, huge machine. After we got it delivered, when the baby was sleeping we would just sit by the round door with relief, drinking coffee, watching the nappies sloshing round and around.
Before, in a previous life, in a jujj apartment, I got really upset to extreme disgusted when visiting friends emptied the contents of their child’s nappy into my bathtub. At that point I was definitely intent on never becoming a parent and what one did with the proceeds from one’s child’s bottom was totally immaterial to me and it irritated me that such basic anomalies had come into my regal adult realm.
But then nappy-talk did come to me, in due course. For about a year we were stalwart on towelling nappies and went off from Johannesburg to Austria with a whole suitcase of them. Washing facilities were indifferent there, so that’s where and when we got hooked on disposables which are, of course, ecologically indisposables, but, it was grand relief finally being rid of that wash load. Although the weight of the load transferred to the budget.
Growing up in Africa as a child in a servant serviced home and then learning to keep home as an adult after the political turning of the tide was an epic ride. It was through the life of our Site-Specific Eco Installation Operating Model*9 on 31 hectares of virgin, African land that we really got a handle on the scientifics of effective, efficient washing and cleaning. It was a rural, self-sufficiency exercise in off-grid living and all our sinks, tubs, water and ablutions were outside. Under the sun, in the fresh air, doing the washing was the most exhilarating affair, but it’s when your own arms and hands are doing the lifting, folding, squeezing, twisting and wringing of rinsing and it’s your own back that’s carried water in a twenty minute walk up from the river, that you start taking note of the modest amount of soap that’s really necessary to deal with dirt. We didn’t have electricity and we found out that ironing is generally just so not necessary, except for the serious hiccup with Karate Gi’s and, it’s a great luxury to be able to really press dish towels and table cloths really nicely.
Even at the cold peak of northern winter we’re usually still washing by hand, outdoors and, mostly, it’s still really the way to go, carrying buckets of warm water, our hot breath making steam jets on the chill, we push, pummel, wring till the material is rinsed clean…these weird, wacko, wonderful Africans.
Space Clearing is an interesting thing, you’re cleaning, tidying, sure, but you’re working psychology, event, incident, with intent, you’re using your eyes, hands, body, but, cumulatively, creatively, thought pattern and intuition determine the sequence of your activities, the progression of your movements, it’s physical to mental puzzle, kind of detective work trying to solve what items, article arrangements or aspects of the environment might be culprit, entrenching human habit tendency towards repetition of hang-up, or obstructing transformation progress from negative, into wholesome process flow. It’s about where there’s unison of mundane, soul and spiritual. One rainy day, we’d just gotten at what was under the wash machine that’s never been moved, after I’d cleaned the dispenser, I was looking out the window, watching the chickens, fire was in the grate drying clothes and I was seeing over my shoulder, into what my life long quest has turned out to be, to locate the good people, to find really decent human beings, one’s that are prepared to go down deep into their own boot, work out what’s going on in there, see what’s in the dark, process, go round and round, to and fro inside their own workings every time they interact with another person. Then I realised I’d identified an all time, definitively true character, the goat lady in the movie ‘Cold Mountain’ . . ..”
…from Chicchan (Serpent), to Ben (Reed)…*7b
Bussing to and fro, up and down, back and forth, a six leg, return journey recurring in a matter of two months, there’s thorough weariness in her, a slowness, a distancing, a quietness; though these are also simultaneously strong about her as signals of learning, of awareness, of liberal relief releasing into more knowing. All rescued, all retrieved, she’s continuing back inside the vast, desolate plains of home.
“The night my child called to relay what had transpired still ricochets through me. Like they say in the ‘Bourne’ movies, ‘you can’t make this stuff up’. You hear about the scenario of people hearing about scenarios and saying it won’t happen to them and you say also, for yourself, that the scenario of saying that it won’t happen to you and then it does, won’t happen to you. And then it does. Somehow you’re landed in that stigmatic statistic. Is it always because you’ve trusted so witlessly that you’ve placed yourself in the vicinity of a predator? I couldn’t get my head around it, couldn’t get what to do. The image of Palestinian mothers, standing in the street, watching automatons mow down their children was with me. The rage. The utter, interminable rage that there’s nothing they can do to undo, turn back the clock, stand against such terribly overt, summary, presumed transgression by one person upon another person. ‘There. That’s it. That’s the way it is. You have no say. Concluded. Done.’ Oh the rage. And the feeling of helplessness, the feeling of puny. The pain.
Well anyway, this man we thought true invited us to go and stay up north, said he was running a restaurant, at a larney’s estate club, that he wanted to give us the work he had going, keep the money in the family, that there were gigs to be had, that he had accommodation covered, that he wanted us to be together, needed our skills, our help, our support and love.
I guess, in Acerbica, I just lost accurate perspective on the outside world, didn’t know how domineering it has become, how stuck in it’s rut of hierarchy and pecking order it has become, while I’ve been on my vast, desolate plains of transcendental fathoming.” She smiles, with her whole face, it’s a laugh, silently at herself, at her own naïveté. “My children had a socialising wake up call for sure, found themselves in a zone where ‘grown-ups’ still expect youth to be seen not much and definitely not be heard. Questions, initiative, diligence, they’re interpreted as cheek, my kids had their heads wrecked, ‘be free, be free, be free, like me, do as I say, do as I do, otherwise I’m gonna kak on you, from a dizzy height’, and it appears the value system of that world still rates highly certain inane rites of initiation and conformist imitation, ‘you gotta get laid, you gotta get drunk, you gotta eat only fried chicken with aspartame cola, you gotta look like a vacuous dunce when you’re on duty, do the very least you can, doing nothing is prized most highly, a pinnacle aspiration, you must brace into the self effacing the gentry expect of the serfs who were born to wait on their every need, you must jiggle yourself totally erratic for how high you must jump or not at all to variously and indistinguishably keep on track with the constantly veering, ambiguous triggers that churn operational rigours and, definitely, be glad to grovel before the boss’ rights to excruciating yelling and debasing, hollering criticism as a staff management style’.
I guess I now know where I’ve been while sheer disrespect has become the standard operating mien of preference in the world scene. But how? How did it become necessary, in order to survive, to have to tolerate people with daily, multiple personality switches caused by nightly drunkenness? Why did it become obligatory to divulge, in mixed company, whether or not you’re circumcised? Where did it become social ordinance that you can only have friends if you smile on while present company snorts human pesticides? And when did it happen that support for gay rights rendered hetero monogamists baddies who don’t have any rights to any rights at all? Mother massacre I tell you, having to second guess my parenting, that perhaps I was erring to counsel my children that they have choice to pursue alternative views, when considering issues of debauchery and promiscuity.
So in addition to all this and the airborne, chemical infringement, we got sulphur poisoning. Seems the family is allergic to burning coal, coughing, spluttering, wheezing, sinus seizure brain squeezing. It was amazing to see how far the last two paracetemol could stretch across the snivelling. The youngest had been saying he would take them in the early evening. I confirmed I thought I had swallowed them, so Father stopped threatening to dose. Then, in the darkest hours of night, when the oldest was really crapping off, and expecting the tub to be empty, we picked it up and it gave off the welcome rattle of extant contents. Pharmaceuticals. We try and avoid them. Occasionally we heed James Herriot’s*10 medical opinion that passing out into a deep sleep can be a good cure all, even known to bring sheep back from death’s door. Another crazy world, synthetic medicines, chemists – down south that’s what we call the pharmacy, it used to be a friendly place to visit, now it’s a really scary one to go into. We’ve been carrying thoughts for Jane Burgermeister,*11 that she’ll overcome what she’s going through.
Meantime, out in L.A. or somewhere, a global organisation has been spending in the billions to run a programme to educate third world men in cleaning their uncircumcised phalluses. Thought pricking data.
Where there’s courage to acknowledge the inherent problem with the inner state of the washing machine boot, and heart to care about it, and face it, do something about it, in diligence for sustained, measured maintenance, then, well, I think, there’s wisdom to see into all things, know all things, truly exude concern about and for all things. Incorporating that kind of life detail attention to a busy schedule in the hectic global scenario…I said, a long time ago, ‘Love is a comprehensively clean bath towel, smelling well and swelling rough on bathéd skin…’”*12
She has a transcendental friend.*13 She says she gets that he’s been through his share of life’s blend, and that contact with him is sublime, no matter place, date or time. Off the bus, she visits his affirming, Fine Art adorned abode, before the sixth leg of her ride homeward. He relays to her that he’s just stopped smoking and he says he’s begun remembering that when he started smoking he was pondering upon what he has now begun to ponder upon again, which is, how the human being can be so stupid.
*8 extracts from Walt Whitman
[Song of Myself]
I CELEBRATE MYSELF
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good as belongs to you.
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes…the shelves are crowded
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
The atmosphere is not a perfume…it has not taste of the
Distillation…it is odourless,
It is for my mouth forever… I am in love with it,
The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, and buzzed whispers…loveroot, silkthread,
crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration…the beating of my heart…
the passing of blood and air through my lungs,
Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less
familiar than the rest.
…and, with good greetíngs, at note*6b, Acerbica’s recipe for homemade facial moisturiser.
Conversings in Acerbica
*1 see Kyle Hunt, .mp3 download, http://www.redicecreations.com
*2 Zen and The Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig, 1974
*3 Baraka, the movie, Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson, Bob Green, Michael Stearns, 1992
*4 essays of an eco post-feminist : from Steps To The Beach an exploratory treatise, The CláinWellian
DIRT & AESTHETICS, DOMESTIC & ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMY professionally speaking, from an up to the elbows, applied study, an academic analysis of details in the daily routine of the domestic unit, in contrast to the neglect of obviation, refute and denial routes
SANITATION, SANCTITY AND SURVIVAL – GENDER, LANGUAGE AND CONCEPT in religious philosophy and human behaviour, and environmental demise. The sentiment, ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ is probably still, in the 21st century, responsible for widespread social moray. For serious, practical reasons, an eco post-feminist wishfully purports to substitute this harmful phrase with, say, for example, ‘friendliness is next to godliness’ and she challenges the day by exploring the correlation between ‘fear of the unclean’ in religious ethic, fear of dirt in social posturing and the ecological target in the crime wave of men
SHE – about “floor of stone and mud”
WOoden family publishing, 2010, all rights reserved
*5 The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
*6 see Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent, DNA, Knowledge & Intelligence in Nature .mp3 download
*6b Acerbica’s Recipe for Homemade Facial Moisturiser
Assemble and open all containers. Take a dab of Wilcock’s Base on the finger, place it in the palm of the hand. Mix in 2 drops of an essential aromatherapy oil, 2 drops of evening primrose or wheat germ oil. Blend in half teaspoons of witch-hazel at a time, until the consistency reaches a smooth, milky cream. Apply and rub into face, neck and chest with gentle finger tips around the eyes. Spread any residue on arms, legs and the rest of the body. Close the containers.
Alternative to witch-hazel: for 20 minutes, boil lemon peels in just enough water to cover them. Cool. Store the liquid in a suitable, dark bottle. (Wilcock’s Base, ±€5, large tub, at Pharmacies)
for reference to aromatherapy essential oils see:
AROMATHERAPY AN A-Z, Patricia Davis, The C. W. Daniel Company Limited, England, 1991
*7 the mutation, March, April, May 2010, ‘Sendings from Acerbica’
Sending Zen(7), Men(10), Leven(11), “Reichs Or Sex gone – part I, II, fin”
*7b the mutation, August 2010, ‘Conversings in Acerbica 3′, “Managing Meta Mentor Material”
http://www.mutantspace.com/south-african-artist-memoirs note *4
*8 Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, Penguin Books Limited, Middlesex, 1986
*9 collected, collated, edited, transmitted by pan
formerly TAKES of a BRIEF TOUR for Torque about The Mulísa Project 2000-2001
a cameo document, colour pics, audio, now web format :
The travails, trails and tales of The Mulísa Tribe – mulisa dot coza 1994 C.E. – 2006 P.C.E.
describing early habitation inception, system and garden inauguration, building process and lifestyle escapades on Mulísa. Also cultural and educational activities and service, social scenario discovery, experience, revelation and comment.
eco music factory audios: “Takes” “drive by’s” “33.48°S” “noelle n numin live, doing dixie”
WOoden family publishing, 2010, all rights reserved
*10 All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot, (James Alfred Wight)
*11 Jane Burgermeister : http://birdflu666.wordpress.com
*12 ”a díva dustíng of whírl word lyríc líve” ‘ essays BY AN ECO POST-FEMINIST ‘
by angela noelle, written 2005/9, produced 2009/10
Also eco music factory audio incl. ‘Sane Side of Fantasy’
epilogue in a progressively scripted, Five Act, Psychoacoustic Theatre Experience :
üü – überklang überalles
WOoden family publishing, 2010, all rights reserved
*14 writings from Acerbica by Ambrasia Kurtz:
*15 ’art by angela’, exhibit : ‘Saved from the Fire’, series i-xiv :
Series iv : dénouement in 12, Anatomy of a Gestation
(early 1990’s through 1994, Johannesburg, ‘Gauteng’;
including the ebullient emergence inspired by theatre set design studies)
featured this month : iv4 I [water colour on paper, 64X50]
series pic: iv10 Tintagel from Silbury [ink, pencil, pencil crayon, water colour, pastel,
on paper, lighting gel, papier mâché, building insulation sheets, 29X21]
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