donderdag 7 augustus 2014

THE PEPPERMINT SESSIONS 3 the dog and i in the labyrinth

1                                                   The labyrinth has exterior walls of red brick. The interior walls are plastered and painted over with a 

                                                     rough brush. To table height seagreen and the rest, including the ceiling, azure. On account of  the rooftops 
                                                     not having had any maintenance for years, moisture has pushed the planks from the flooring out of their 
                                                     joints. In one space more complete than in the next. Of the space in which we ― the dog and I ― like to 
                                                     be, I have removed all of the wooden floor. So that the underlying concrete, as a smooth flat surface, 
                                                     connects the four walls with one another. And because I also improvisingly tackled the gutters, the walls 
                                                     have gotten quite a lift. I did this on the evening of some soccer final.

                                                     The ground can be entered through a narrow passway, caused by the gate having come seperated from 
                                                     the fencing. On the outside the growth has been trampled down somewhat. Only trained eyes would 
                                                     notice it. On the site itself there are no visible tracks. At least the few times that I have explored it, I have 
                                                     not been able to discover any. Immediately after the passage, the wildgrowth shoots up unbridled. A mix 
                                                     of everything that grows in this earth in this climate; long and low, hard and soft, green and color, 
                                                     seasonals and perennials.

2                                                   Once we are on the site, our routine is to immediately take the first entrance and then walk to our space 
                                                     by the inside route. The concatenated spaces form a system of corridors. Real corridors are absent. But 
                                                     there are some courtyards. And these too are covered with a wild growth that is comforting, both visually 
                                                     and in fragrance.

                                                     Before we reach our space, it is not impossible that we already have been on our way for about an hour. 
                                                     Would we walk straight without distractions, it would not even take us three minutes. A space we do not 
                                                     mind being distracted by, is one that obviously has also been claimed by someone. Someone by the way 
                                                     who, except for my dialogue with this space, I never met. In our space the walls are smooth and I stayed 
                                                     with the original colors, these please me. In this one the stucco has come loose in several places, so that 
                                                     the underlying straw matting has become visible. I suppose it is the person who is using this space, who 
                                                     has painted what is left of the walls and the ceiling a bright red, and who is filling the holes with masklike 
                                                     reliefs. For as far as they have been applied up to now, these reliefs have all gotten a different color, but 
                                                     all of a lighter hue than the red. The reliefs do not fill the holes as closing lids; the masks are rather the 
                                                     parts of faces. Whenever I look at them, jolly voices sound in my ears, that I am tempted to try to 
                                                     reproduce with my voice. I am quite skilled at this.

                                                     This shop too is comforting. Has a pleasing emptiness. I have never seen any tools lying aroud.

3                                                   In the labyrinth I am almost immune. Restrictions, that I am not always able to simply shake off outside 
                                                     of the labyrinth, do not bother me here. Like putting my breath in service of my voice. Outside I put my 
                                                     voice in the service of my practical needs. Often. And also I am never cold in the labyrinth. It seems as if 
                                                     an inner stove keeps me in the right temperature. Or without having paid it any attention, I am wearing the 
                                                     right clothing.

                                                     Another space where we return to off and on is one for which we must make a detour to pass through it. 
                                                     In this space both the wooden floor and the cement floor have disappeared and in the clayey soil that has 
                                                     come exposed a pattern of footprints lies preserved. To me they do not seem prints of a recent date and 
                                                     the fact that as long as I have come here the pattern has remained the same strengthens my supposition. 
                                                     It is clear that several different feet made the prints, but all the prints are of feet without shoes. The size 
                                                     varies from about ten centimeters to about twentyfive centimeters. Especially the smaller ones have 
                                                     aroused my astonishment when I first saw them. And it is also clear that both the smaller ones and the 
                                                     bigger ones were made by persons of different weight. Every time I see them, the prints have a slightly 
                                                     changed expression, depending on the humidity of the ground. The pattern they make somehow seems so 
                                                     obvious, that I have never developed any theory about the how and the why of it. But it is kind of startling 
                                                     that it is lying here.

                                                     In this space I feel like I am in the presence of many people. Without having to ask her, the dog remains in 
                                                     the adjacent space and waits for me. And being here solo sometimes reminds me of my visits to school, of 
                                                     how I experienced those during my youth. To be a legitimate part of a social event. But there is nothing 
                                                     else to do than to wait until it is over again.

4                                                   The labyrinth has no provisions with regard to permanent occupation. There is talk that it has been 
                                                     standing vacant for twenty years, but I have also heard that it has been twenty years since the manager 
                                                     left and that by now it is nearly fifty years since it was in full operation. Maybe it is on account of it lying 
                                                     fallow all this time, that being in here I pick up very few vibrations that clash with mine.

5                                                   The doll I found in the labyrinth once, and that I used in one of my poems, was the type of doll that seems 
                                                     to evoke feelings in the most diverse people. I for one have seen this doll in quite some different interiors. 
                                                     When looking through the windows, during one of our countless walks. Whether the feelings of all these 
                                                     diverse people indeed are one and the same? This remains to wonder. When I came across the doll in the 
                                                     labyrinth, she was sitting on a plastic-covered chair. The doll did not have a scratch. As if never the hand 
                                                     of a human being had touched her. Through the doll I heard Patsy sing. Although the doll was more a 
                                                     Tammy or a Dolly.

                                                     This poem, we – the dog and I – exposed in the Vondelpark, as a foundling. At a New Year's Eve. With 
                                                     a timer that was set at half past twelve, New Year. When the noise in the vicinity of the poem exceeded 
                                                     a certain limit, the explosives would oxidize. And The Doll would remain intact and be harmless to a 
                                                     possible finder. When the noise in the vicinity of the poem would not reach the limit, the explosion would 
                                                     take place and the sound of the explosion would merge into the festive roar. The risk of someone finding 
                                                     The Doll before this time falls into the category unforeseen. Time and place. Over someone's subjective 
                                                     motives I have no control.

6                                                   I made an effort to try to find out who the owner of the labyrinth is. But long before I had a name, I had 
                                                     used up what drive I had. Around here the complex is called the milkshops. And then milk stands for 
                                                     milksop. This milksop refers to the youthfulness of the former inhabitants. Young boys who by their 
                                                     parents had been donated to the city. So to speak. To deal with the daily waste. The boyish ones were 
                                                     sent out to collect it. While the girlish ones stayed on the ground to sort it out.

7                                                   In the tundra no giraffe is born, in the ocean no human being. This is a consideration I can have when 
                                                     I am in our space of the labyrinth. Certain organisms like to be in environments where birth-movements 
                                                     and dying- movements are going on. Another one of those considerations.

                                                     My notions are not unthinkable, as I have thought them. And neither are my notions imaginary, because 
                                                     they are interacting with observations and experiences. They proceed from them and they result in new 
                                                     ones. The baby a pair gets is a girl, when within the relationship of this pair the feminine needs 
                                                     reinforcement. And the baby is a boy, when within this relationship the feminine is dominant. The core 
                                                     of this notion is rooted in my experience, but it grew by a series of observations.

8                                                   Collecting being far from me, I never take any of the many small skeletons I have come across in the 
                                                     labyrinth. Bird, rodent and reptile. But whenever I am in the mood, I investigate them thoroughly and this 
                                                     the dog knows. That they are no toys.

                                                     Sometimes when I sit in our space I hear a shriek. I assume it is an acoustic wind effect, but up to now 
                                                     I have not been able to trace the exact course of things. The sound reminds me of a child's voice 
                                                     expressing a confrontation with something that evokes a sudden mortal fright. But with death children 
                                                     should be familiar. There is a lot that can frighten children, but of dying they should not be afraid. Why 
                                                     would anyone? Nothing that is really meant for me comes unexpectedly. And I hope that when my 
                                                     number is up I have remained sensitive enough to not be scared by death.

                                                     Sitting in our space. This invariably makes me calm. Precisely because it is not windproof and waterproof. 
                                                     In the one next to ours even moss is growing. This gives a full earthly scent that can be smelled right in 

                                                     Also in the labyrinth I live without a clock. Except that occasionally I cannot escape counting along with 
                                                     the chiming of the church carillion. By counting along I want to force the tinkling to stop. If ever I could 
                                                     get a say in anything concerning the general order, I would immediately cancel this tradition. But for 
                                                     someone like me this is not real. Getting a say in anything concerning the general order. My kind of 
                                                     sensibility is a minority by far. Fortunately, there are only a few of such intrusive cultural expressions 
                                                     in the vicinity of the labyrinth.

9                                                  Although there is nothing in me that is part of a majority, I am confident that, just by the fact that I live, 
                                                     I too exercise an influence on the spaces I move in. The perishable space also, yes. But mainly the meta 
                                                     spaces. The durable reality spheres.

                                                     I do not feel the need to want to trace the nature of my influence. Just as I simply accept the influence 
                                                     someone else has on me. The fact that the other affects me. And that I more often than not experience 
                                                     these influences as unpleasant, is logical in my case.

                                                     In our space of the labyrinth I feel protected from the erosive action of these sneak-influences. And it is 
                                                     only the dog who is familiar with the absolute concentration that I am able to realize here.

10                                                 Before I found the labyrinth, I had met with little I could relate to. At least in a way that is allied to my 
                                                     nature. So my expectation to find any circumstance that could still rouse my enthusiasm was minus zero.

                                                     As with my house, the labyrinth pleases me because it is spacious without a corresponding status attached. 
                                                     In both, I can dwell big without having to behave big. Feel classless. Or rather: be one with those who 
                                                     cannot be socially classified. And through the many hours we spend in the labyrinth I noticed that its 
                                                     measurements are perfect and the working of the light is optimal. This is an advantage it has over my 
                                                     house. The size and the working of the passage of the sun are completely exactly fitting.

                                                     The neighborhood of the labyrinth is populated by people with many different tongues, none of which 
                                                     I recognize. So even if I catch some piece of language, it does not hurt me. And never unexpected 
                                                     visitors. Or a phone call. Because I am not equipped with a cellphone.

11                                                 We do not have a strict schedule for going to, or being in, the labyrinth. But to date we have known the 
                                                     right moments to be there without running into anyone. The sensation to together be alone in the world is 
                                                     almost total in our space. Or perhaps better: together be one with the world. Although sometimes 
                                                     somewhere in the distance I seem to hear the click of a lighter.

12                                                 Yes, I feel safe in the labyrinth. Through their isolation there is coherence. Between in and out. Not 
                                                     because my inside reflects the outside, or vice versa, but because my inside is the outside, and vice versa. 
                                                     Because the boundaries between in and out have blurred. As if my skin becomes a two way passage, 
                                                     from inside to outside and from outside to inside. This has little to do with extreme happiness. It is one of 
                                                     my periodically life sustaining needs. The other reason why I feel safe in the labyrinth has to do with 
                                                     feeling assured about the continuity of things. Because I made an inventory of all of it, here I have the 
                                                     peace to for hours do little else than just sit. Sometimes eyes open, sometimes eyes closed. Because in the 
                                                     registration of the progression of the decay I am not interested.

                                                     If my head is not occupied by worries of some kind, this sitting here can bring me insight. Into a personal 
                                                     trauma, for example. Not by way of words or images, but by being transported. The dog is my guide. The 
                                                     limits posed by time fall away and I arrive in one of my metarealities. Bonds that were brought about here 
                                                     and also have been kept up here. Bonds from which I have not been able to seperate myself, that I have 
                                                     not been able to get into focus in spite of experiencing them as suffocating. Such a bond I can break off 
                                                     now. In the first place, because the purpose of this particular bond becomes clear to me, because now 
                                                     I am this natural extention. And in the second place, because I unabashedly can give expression to the 
                                                     feelings of uneasiness that accompany this breaking off; moaning, writhing, spitting, yawning, sniffling, 
                                                     and so on.

                                                     The ultimate meaning of the utterance "I am" is spoken from memory. I and am are being separated from 
                                                     each other. While in my proper being I and am coincide. Because it can also happen, that I am being 
                                                     transported to the sphere of reality, where there is no structure at all. Again with the dog as my guide. The 
                                                     concentration of the dog is without any gap. A presence of a continuous quality, that keeps me anchored. 
                                                     We become one organ, one anonymous life. Averse to time and place naturally, but also at the extreme 
                                                     edge of materiality. At the edge of the ultimate reality. And here formless and form interchange. And here 
                                                     also without content and with content interchange. So that the boundaries between form and content fade. 
                                                     The imagination stops. The image disappears. While the senses keep on functioning. Total cohesion. A 
                                                     session like this we usually end by a song, sung by me to thank the dog. And through such a song we both 
                                                     get our individuality affirmed. She again is apart from me. And we again are two.

13                                                 In the end, the outside end of reality is equal to the inside end of reality. A little play with words. But 
                                                     truthful perception. Because in the reality where there is no structure at all, and where as I mentioned, the 
                                                     dog sometimes takes me, this end-reality lets itself be experienced.

                                                     And what I experience here is that intimacy with nature is overwhelming.

                                                     Yes, to stay within the circle of the dog's silence is another one of my periodically life sustaining needs. 
                                                     And no, images at once full and empty do not bore me, no.

© mc 2000-2014

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