In April 2010, I gave a presentation about Derek Jarman, where I worked through The Garden, Edward II, and Blue, showing the closeness to death in each film.
Or maybe: not just showing. When I polished the presentation to give in New Orleans, I felt close to something....
I promised, last year, to turn the presentation into a published paper for Gus Subero, who has been waiting for it since August. On Monday he sent me a deadline: it must be done by 8 a.m. tomorrow, or it isn't included. I have actually been grateful for this deadline – I've tossed everything else aside to polish an already faceted stone.
And now I'm polishing the last page, which I haven't gone near in months. I'm proud of the page – but it feels on the edge of – something: and as I'm copying out the text of Jarman's elegy –
“I fill this room with the echo of many voices / Who passed time here / Voices unlocked from the blue of the long dried paint / The sun comes and floods this empty room / I call it my room / My room has welcomed many summers / Embraced laughter and tears / Can it fill itself with your laughter / Each word a sunbeam / Glancing in the light / This is the song of My Room.
David / Howard / Graham / David / Paul / Derek / Graham / Howard / David"
No, my nose isn't running: it is bleeding.
And it is as though this is a mark of what is given to me: I do live, still (or: I seem to), waiting for some useful purpose perhaps; but when I come this close, I can't help but show some sign of it. Heavily.
Is this why I haven't been spending time on these pages... at some level I know that this is risky. I'm allowed to live, but there are... warnings.
A tissue in my nose; and no blood has gotten on my shirt. It is late at night, and the living neighbors are watching television, which noise hums in the background. My last paragraph, which clearly doesn't need reworking – just, perhaps, one more comma placed for the reader:
If the eye is a camera, perhaps a series of transformation shots could be filmed, following each other in a slow-motion series: a transformation of soldiers dying in World War I, into gay men dying of AIDS; a transformation of Christ into a man attacked and humiliated by laughing policemen; transformations of Tilda into Mary, of Edward II into Jarman, of externalized rage about death, about war, about violence and repression and inequality, into an internalized identification, even a kind of defiant acceptance. And finally, a transformation shot that turns Jarman, in his garden, into everyone who dies: into blue…
The paper is done – the tissue is holding the blood – and I can send it in.
Not a close call, exactly: more of a long-expected visit; but by a friend....