slowly we all lay down

Last week I had the goodness of seeing Darkwing Dubs/Scott Sneddon doing his solo show, Maximal, for the Anywhere Theatre Festival.

There is a special place in hearts that is reserved for the joy of seeing someone you care about doing what they love as they love to do it. It is a good an unbridled place of happy without rancour, of pleasure without taint, of kindness without credit. For those who missed it, I highly recommend trying to see Mixtape with Scott Sneddon and Angela Willock for another side of good.

For me, the best places of art are those that stay with you after the event, the questions that remain, the ugly taint of thought, the musty in your mouth.

This is my me-view/re-view of last Saturday’s show. It was a really good night. Just in case it doesn’t seem that way.

—-

Depression is a tug tug tug pulling the forelock of your hair until you are aware that this is a thing to be respected, this is the blood that bleeds, this is the breath made of stone, and you may suppose you will survive but there is a good chance you will not return from the age of ice. Depression remembers you just as you remember it, and only a strange word or a word of strange or a work of kith or a strike of kin will find the room a little darker, the air thinner, and without thinking you have filled the body of your car with gasoline and you are holding the strike of a match in your very breath. Weren’t you just walking down the street? Wasn’t the sun out just a moment ago?

Slowly lay down in it. This crass grass which is growing beneath you, just as there is a moth on your finger. You’re seeing everything, the ragged edge of that man’s shirt untucked from his creased jeans. The squalor of the pavement. The amnesia of happiness. And slowly you lie down in it. The softened dank filth of yourself and your thoughts, none of which are clear any more, all of which have lost their corners, all of which have come unfolded from the neat and tidy; there is a feeling or two somewhere in there, but they are just screams from some other room issued by somebody else entirely, there is a rag in your mouth, a moth on your finger, and grass growing beneath your feet.

Cross the street. Muster everything to it. You have a thing that you were meant to be doing, some thing which was the point of it all, and that thing is on the other side of the street. Then part way across the road, the vast river road, you will see that there is a white van approaching you, doing its thing which is driving along the road, and in that molasses moment of time you will know that you are not walking fast enough so that your body and that van will not be in the same coincidental place in space and time, the same insignificant moment. Slowly you want to lay down. A light rush of adrenalin washes you, kicks your left and then your right leg a little faster and you’re out of the way in time, but the rush is so faint you can’t imagine it wouldn’t have been easier to just stand right where you were. You’re on the other side of the street.

Easy. That is a word that siren sings you.

Everything feels so hard. Everything feel so heavy. Everything so full and solid and black and geological in its weight upon you that you’d give it all for just a minute of easy. The downward pressure is so immense that only a completely renegade soul could resist the urge to lie the fuck down and be squashed down by it. There an insistent hand on your chest pressing you back in your seat. There is a heavy rough rope all the way round your middle and somehow it is affixed to a winch, an intractable invisible slow turning winch at the very base of a dark sullen well. Why hold, when we all know where this is headed?

Coming out of depression is no victory at all. It’s not even an actual moment. Just a lurch to one side. Just a small side step. Just a swipe sided breath. Just a slow lying down with the fine imagination of something that might possibly occur. Just another intake of breath. Like someone just cut the power to some invisible winch at the bottom of some well and as soon as they work out how to turn it back on they are going to switch that switch and you are going to be fucked.

Chosen Family is on tonight. Then the other nights which follow it. The days that remain and sustain. Do come if you can. I’m really looking forward to seeing you.

(Thank you Siri. You are a wilful wench but we got there in the end, didn’t we?)

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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