Redundancy, this. It writes to un-write itself. (The fruit of sustained ambivalence is tender, a twinge sour, but sweet. You can tell if they bruise like a peach.)
We speak of the facticity of practicals: hinges, what a scaffold permits, the use of clay as a sealant. How it looks like impasto, the way its applied — slathered on bones, encrusting their spines. Musty muslin, its accrual of dilute colour wash by wash. The way a tentative line of stitching embellishes. (It must have taken courage to do that, I thought, moments of deferral and surrender.) Gestures you cannot take back forming part of a register.
One of the stakes of intimacy is weakness, disarmament (she says, to herself). ‘The point isn’t to make it good, it’s just to make it.’
A slash connects in as much as it divides / is membranous. A slash describes itself — as does the work, the connective tissue between you and me — the way it leans in, hush, but open. Its body tending sicklish, still sore. Self-conscious, too. The presence of stirrings in the pit of my stomach. We speak of the material and the technical in terms of debts and affordances, an economy of means. I agree that generosity is crucial, though at times inconvenient.
‘Soft and ghostly’, some flung open. It empties itself out, gently emanating light in its sheerer parts. (I am forever in danger of mistaking you for someone else.) Exquisite loneliness in the immanent longing of its sallow skin, its weepy tones. Sniffs of yellowing in places, small signs of wilt. A surface that lives is thus wisen. Tired, they ache a beauty that withdraws to the touch.
You paint with apologies… You live with it or suffer it. Perhaps ‘endure’ is a better word. (You liked some, others you didn’t; it’s a specific game, diction, my choice of.)
Felicitations, with discomfit,
Elaine Tam is a writer and curator based in London.