Peter Hammill - King Tut

Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Virgil: Aeneid

'If there is anything you would wish to spring to mind --- and, remember, to mind only --- then now is the moment to open yourself to it.'

'I can't get any further than six or seven. Everything before is blurred or stolen. I've stolen my picture of babyhood from the photograph album. There is nothing real there, only dark, terribly gloomy pictures.

'Where am I? Who was I? Do I not exist? Is there really no past? And if so, then what is now, for I can only have been made by what has been and I can only be what I have been made? Is there no moment for me to define as a changing one? How alone I feel....'

There are nodes in all our lives, high peaks of activity, excitement, relationship, confrontation. Memory catches them through the mists of the years. In the far past, the only past that we can briefly call such, only the nodes are visible, and in their temporal moments we are both made and defined. In subliminal chasms of antinode, reaction is felt, registered, translated into a scratch on the wall, a note which will join with others to make our individual chords. Far down, a junction switches from 'yes' to 'no' and the world changes. How important is the root note; how critical the placement of the first switch!

I, too, have pseudo-memories of/from photograph albums with funereal black corner-pieces, angry fists, surrenders to hunger, creative swearing, and I can attribute the blanks in my memory about them to more than extreme distance and total lack of data. They are not celebrated in me. They are not the Saints' day of my calendar. They are of white, cream, pastel; neither the rose-and-gold of joyous triumph, nor abstemious, sinful black and purple are theirs. They receive no extra benedictions, processions, consecrations, Hallelujah Choruses or Dies Iraes. They are the blank pages in my missal; no entries in the liturgical diary.

'Oh but wait... yes, yes!! It returns... good young proto-Catholics all, first prayer books, white and gold leaf, milk at break, feuding with rivals, kissing the one girl in the class... and running away. I was shy and clinging; laughed at words like 'wee-wee'; frightened of the dark; already aware of my own vulnerability (from where? from how? from what?); putty.

A shining summer afternoon, break time - but four of us are folding up and piling away chairs from the kindergarten room, attended by Teacher. She is, somehow, difficult to visualise; only the aura of power, of discipline is present of her. That, and the deep attractions, the despairing urges that are her in me.

We finished piling up the chairs, and are impatient to be outside, playing French cricket. Ah, I notice it: a black seam on a stocking rising out of a black shoe! Ah, teacher!

I'm feeling the root of my mouse with my tongue, exploring the seamy geography with the tip, pressing upwards with the flat whole and sucking out the saliva from the junction. Something tells me I should not be doing this. If I suck enough saliva out I can make my tongue trick to the cave of my mouth. Teacher's words drift in: something about one final little job, moving table....

I can't slide my tongue loose! Ah, but if I pull hard I can jerk it away from the roof. The seal comes apart with a 'cluck' which spills out into the sudden silence of the room. To me it sounds like a 'cluck'; to teacher, a 'tut' of disapproval and rebellion. She's spitting words at me/face of thunder/physicality/nerve-ends multi-pulsating, screaming/my guilty tongue unable to manage more than a single 'But...': stunned into immobility/mind tears to deny her assumptions.

It's going, going, blurring into grey again. What then? We have to stay in for the break period. My friends are very angry. Teacher is very angry. Grey. And I am..? I was..?'

Wildman Logo, nasty child-molester, failed attempted murderer and crypto-tortologist, stumbles into the continuance of his gloomy silence. The man in the black hood has pulled the switch, with a 'tut'.




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Sergey Petrushanko hammillru@mail.ru, 1998-2017