So how would YOU like to wake in fright, with coloured dreams and waiting schemes of small water dragons red ? So how would YOU like to shake in the arm and not be alarmed when holding a spear to slay the red fear ?
I always feel such a mess of a mind at times and this year’s dragon dream was just not to comprehend. I in a garden green of delightful flowers and you, my dear love were there with a thing in your eye. I looked into it, you complained ‘why should you look in my eye’. I said ‘cos there is a dragon in it’. You said ‘actually there is something there, it’s bugging me a bit’. I looked close, I could see a green little insect the size of a pin walking around in there. I steadied my arm and picked up the little thing by it’s wing and plucked it from your eye. Then I threw it gently into the breeze, whereupon it turned into a flying thing.
Then there was a rustling in the grass under the green leafy border. There appeared to be a large sinewy root lying on the ground. Suddenly it moved like a python and I checked carefully blinking against the sunshine. “Look out” I think I said, ( if only I could be that heroic in real life) ‘there is a snake !’ but as I looked closer, it had scales like a fish, and lizard feet and a head like a crocodile. Coming in from the lake and hiding out under the shade of a pumpkin patch. “It is a snake, no crocodile eating a snake perhaps !” . ‘Never mind’ you said, ‘you must be dreaming’.
The waterfall was there, streaming down from the rocks in kind. It sounded like a dragon was there just babbling to itself in a constant stream of conversation with the pool. ‘The dragon must have come from over there’ I said, ‘just from that pool.. there under the waterfall’.
Waking, I turned and looked up, the fig tree had turned red, the color of the dragon, with those same sinewy stupid vestigial legs it carries around with the crocodile head and now there it was camped in a tree.
I crawled out of my sleeping bag in the early morning light and looked up at the fig tree, where moments before a ‘dragon’ was to enliven me.
Picasso seemed fully aware of the tangential nature of proof in artistic depiction. Always trying to describe a searing truth in his mind’s most amazing determined eye, the physical working of it was rough, crude, but carried the truth with it, like a sword in the back of a brutish bull in a bullring. That the matador and horse were almost interchangeable. That always eyes are on the same side of the face. That a skull with horns could be well represented by a bike seat and handlebars and rusting mounted on a wall.
All the works of art had been sent her to New South Wales from France and would be on display here till March 2012. Picasso, simply titled, and people had been queuing up to get in, to see all the special works of the famous painter/sculptor. You could tell by the conversations in the large lobby where a latest (not by Picasso) all black opus entitled ‘Stephen Hawkings‘ hangs across from two plaster busts regarding the floor where bits of broken white bust lie quietly. In the ticket queue you could overhear that some people had studied Picasso carefully or quickly or not at all. I had read his biography some years before and forgotten most of it.
Having purchased tickets, we all had to come back at the scheduled time and queue politely in an anteroom with a large screen video showing Picasso doing paintings on glass. Birds mostly. Quick and true.
Then at the appointed time, we marched across the lobby in double file as though marching through the entry to the bullring and into the first gallery room, one of about a dozen which represented the different phases of his artistic career.
I was in the centre of gallery room number 5 “Brushes with surrealism”, and having seen galleries 1-2-3 and quickly through 4, was optimistic that I could begin to understand something of the artist. I was standing in the middle of the ‘Bullring’. I was imbued with the art, the deconstruction, the destruction of 3D forms, and its smattering of surreal truth on the walls of the gallery. Truth and Picasso a master at it like a matador, each work of art a conquest, and when finished a death.
There on the outer edge of the Bullring I could see a large guitar like painting. The sinewy strings aboard the neck of the body of the bull, and I writing notes with a Katana and looking over at the guitar. I wandered slowly over, past the people like pebbles of crushed stone that made up the field of the ring. There on the wall was the guitar. The painting. I moved closer.. The painting originally white with grey brown and black shades started to develop depth and shadows. The painting changed as approached. Gradually the painting of a guitar dissolved into 3 dimensions of painted metal and tin. Looking at it now from 5 feet back, the guitar became folded metal which looked like something from the Australian outback. Remnant of a roof perhaps, but cut with metal shears and folded by hand to become a painting at 20ft. And with strings added. The tin now, folded cut metal, an now from the side looking for all the while like a tin gate, all twisted and bent. Yes, from the side it just looked like a bunch of metal folded and painted badly.
I came to see Picasso’s works, I saw many others, in fact all of them twice. What I saw was that art reflects on life and truth, but in itself cannot be true to that. I loved how cleverly folded painted tin on a wall, could at 20 paces look for all the people in the gallery like a painting of a guitar. I could hear the screams of the crowd assembled at the bullfight where the Matador and Horse are conquered by the bull, and his latest wife looking on the comic cubic Picasso who wrestled with tin snips and cut himself no doubt on the tin, trying to make music with a painted folded tin ‘guitar’.
It was getting late in the afternoon at the caravan park. Tents flung all over the place, with spaces of grass and sand between them. The beach not far away, flocks of seagulls tearing bits of food apart and squabbling as usual. For most of the people there too, it was getting time to eat.
Alice was sitting on a rock, overlooking the ocean, and the waves. Sunburnt a bit, she was munching on an apple, a nice red one and considering her palm, a mystery, but she had been told about love lines, marriage lines, heart lines. It was mystery to her. It was cooling down and so she got up and walked back to the tent on the beach, and met up with Ferodo, that infuriating guy boyfriend, whatever.
Alice and Ferodo took off up the track together. Alice offered Ferodo a bite of her apple, and he took one, but was still thinking of fish and chips after all. He thought of holding hands perhaps. Who would go first, the woman or the man in the equation ? They often thought about crossing the line, that marks the balance point in a relationship. When tension increased, the strength and straightness of the line as well. It appeared impassable sometimes, but other times it relaxed into a kind of curvature not starting or ending, but eminently crossable. Still, her hand was all sticky with apple. Perhaps he would just kiss her instead.
“Ferodo !. Quick, look, what IS that ? ”
“Can’t see a thing mate !”,… “where ?” he asked..
“Just there, you idiot !” “Look, It’s a snake!” she said.
“Na, theres no snakes around here !, it’s the beach, don’t worry” he said.
“OK OK I see it !” he added.
There on the path in the darkening, was a curved black line in the sand, the line was fixed in the sand but the front extended and the back contracted so that the line seemed to move forward in perfect formation. It was a Taipan by the way, one of Australia’s most deadly snakes, a bit off track, and who knows where it had come from or why, but too dark to make it out clearly….
Alice screamed, “It is headed for that tent over there”. “quick kill it ! Or something !”
Ferodo, didn’t know too much about snakes. He figured it was dangerous, and that he should take care, but as the light was fading was pretty sure he didn’t want to jump on it.
“Keep your eye on it, and don’t get too close !. I’ll be back ” he said.
He quickly ran back to his own tent and looked around for a weapon. There on the bed, where he had left it, was a hammer, perhaps that would do. He snatched up the hammer and ran back to where Alice was following the snake up the path slowly but surely without deviation advancing on the lighted tent further on.
Ok, so with hammer in hand Ferodo looked at the snake saw that even though the snake was curved and snaking it’s way up the path, and even though he was kind of shaking all over, vibrating with adrenalin, and not knowing really if this was ok, he got the hammer in his hand. His right hand. Should he use his left ? Wasn’t real sure, his mind started to optimise the situation, but then he realized he just had to go for broke, forget the optimization. If he had had a chance to pre-meditate killing the Taipan he certainly would not have chosen a hammer.
His right hand swung out, with the hammer at the smallish head moving in a dead straight line at constant velocity forward, slightly raised off the ground, and with the little minute tongue flicking the air occasionally.
Whack ! Smash, and then a violent eruption in the sand, of fury of the headless snake, whose head had clean come off all mashed on the end of the hammer. The snake was thrashing around, and it was not clear it was dead, even though it’s head seemed to have come off. Ferodo relived the last 200ms of it’s life to assure himself, that that was all he had to do. He was shaking all over, possibly more than the snake itself. He felt sick, like , way too much excitement that was unplanned and not part of expectations for this holiday.
Alice was standing there… ” what on earth !” she said, you could have got bitten ” what if you had missed the thing, you can hardly see it even now in this light”
Ferodo got his breath back, and said ” ok, ok but well, it’s dead now and at least it’s not going to get into the other people’s tent, whoever they are. ”
Alice and Ferodo looked at each other with a kind of new understanding. The line had shifted in the sand between them. Alice stepped forward to meet Ferodo, and stood with her foot clear on the still thrashing body of the snake. She was standing there like it didn’t count anymore, with a half eaten apple, and that there in front of her was another mystery to fathom.
After a while, the stars were coming out, as they turned, with apple and hammer in hand and walked off to get fish and chips.
But darling said Ferodo, I can’t get home before the end of the world. I am on a beach stuck out here and I cannot get a flight back. I can’t even get out of the lobby door here.
Never mind about the end of the world, it can’t happen said Helen. Did you know that elephants are evolving to have no tusks ? she asked.
No, but you don’t understand, this wasn’t mean to be a beach ! OK seahorse hotel, but last time I was here, there wasn’t any beach, and no waves. I have sand filling up the corridor to the main hotel doors , and I can’t get out..its all wet. There WAS an earthquake, didn’t you see that.. it was on the news.
“No here it has been raining, and I haven’t seen any news about that” she said. You are not meant to be coming home for another week.
There is no other week he said, this is it, last day, last hour. Last hour got it. and I can’t even get out of the lobby to the street.
There had been something serious happen to the whole hotel. The walls had dissappeared and he could straight through the sides and the whole lobby corridor had tilted down toward the street. He’d been in the bar and must’ve fallen asleep over a few beers. Harpoon it has to be said is a nice beer Ferodo. The street had disappeared and he could see blue bright strong sunshine coming in at the sides. His favourite hotel, the Seahorse hotel was basically evaporating in his mind was a total surrealisation of the world and his world view felt zoomy and jetlagged. At midnight the night before the news had been all about the rapture, some kind of Thessalonik event, and life had suddenly got real complex and quiet. The phone’s still worked, he was on one.. but his wife down in the southern hemisphere seemed to have absolutely no clue.
“Whats up ?”, “What are you thinking ?” she asked again..
There was a noise, it was related to the wind, and wide waves were coming in, and laying sand all over the place. He had managed to scramble up to a dry place to make the call.. he felt sure that with no walls, and when the sun went down in the west, it would get cold and windy, and what about the ocean, and what about the walls ?
He guessed his wife had a right to be concerned that elephants were evolving without tusks, and natural selection had meant elephants with tusks got killed off for their tusks. Any luck they would just develop tusks later in life and they would be shorter, so no one would kill them.
He didn’t know and couldn’t answer. He said “bye darling – God bless” and put the phone down.
Things settled a bit, but he had noticed that it had started to smell, a lot like Kerala in India, like elephants, and the walls and roof of the hotel lobby had turned into an elephant. The whole fabric of the hotel became like elephants legs with no tusks. The waves rushing up from time to time between them, and he felt at peace, almost as if nature and man and his abode were evolving in a wave of change, so rapid and strong and secure it felt like rapture, down there at the Seahorse Hotel.