Academic journal article Hecate

A Wilderness of Spiders

Academic journal article Hecate

A Wilderness of Spiders

Article excerpt


A hotel. A word. A welding mat. A punctured point of arrival. What in the world has come over me? Dreaming of a brickle bracky blackberry bed. A level surface to settle these ruined sentences. Lisping. Rasping. To sluice this nonexistent night. "Quest 'albergo non esiste piu!" An old voice shouts across telephone wires, through my lagging body. Along a soporific spine. The thieves circle with desire. Deadpan.

Let me confess. I am a traveller with lips on the edge of a city. Or eyes, because here surfaces betray a hundred stories. A tradition of ruins. Tumble or scratch me, they implore. Like we are dressing the face of an ambivalent stone. Or witnessing the kiss of death. Or catching the water off a duck's back. Or we are lists for a Word of Things. Where is the sense of it all?

I have landed in Rome just in the nick of time to lift out the poche racconti. The little stories. Valentina goes in search of Milos Jarco. Fabrizio goes in search of an ending to a lost German manuscript. I go in search of Francesca, who the book jackets say, goes in search of her self. Face to face with a network of roads, of conniving history, let's say, antipodean fantasy, I sight a vascular sheet. A veteran of elusive exposure. This page that page this page that page gorging itself to a ghastly life. Where will it all end?

I will keep a journal to pick up the pieces. In private moments.

When the rain rips through the Colosseum, diffusing the discrete sentences, I think of home. Haphazard. Harking. A form of self. A frame to snuggle up to in this wonderful bulging city.

On this journey it is all a matter of questions.


Well-dressed in the language of distance. Well-dressed in the language of difference. What about likeness? Lace leaves. Enticing web. Glazed loaves. Likely. Lightly. Lipping. The telephone rings and rings and rings until an American accent tells me Francesca is away. "Mi displace!" The woman in the Rizzoli book shop in via Tomacelli has never heard of her.

In this city, pavements are lined with myths and riddles that infiltrate and then subvert my growing list of questions. Who is she? By chance I escape the beat of a crowded tourist route and walk into a book shop. A bouquet. A collection of body frames. In this exquisite haven of dreams and demons I locate a copy of Effetti Personali. Personal belongings. Wide angles. Ideas yearning for ferris wheels.

A name is a name and is then the point where nothing stable exists. I am reading Italian with relish. Liking the lush terrain. The ruins. Roundabouts. Busted string. Listening to repeated motifs. Valentina and I are crossing borders and edges in order to flesh out a name. Uncanny. The way we coincide. West to East we read. I write. Southern to Northern but Francesca is nowhere to be found. Apart from on dust jackets and in book reviews. All of this is causing a commotion in my guts as I heave and spit forth more questions. I am in a foreign country where I want to blatantly insert traces of my autobiography. I remember. I recollect. The roses. The rhymes.


Today there is no reply. Valentina has no luck tracing her celebrated author. My feet ache and ache after searching for clues to unravel the plot I find myself entrapped in. At 5 a.m. I stand beside the bell jar and climb in to mend my own grave. Silky smooth. Wilful seams. Well-knit consequences. Gracefully I will rest in this dark folktale and address the business of belonging. Whose story is it anyway?

Now I am really trapped. In two temperamental plots. In three treacherous cities. In four flammigerous folktales. In five foolish fancies. In six mocking metaphors.

At 6 a.m. the Roman fountains are still entrancing us with their underbellies, that is, their tuneful voices. We are the ones who listen spell bound. Peeling back the bubbles. Broken dawn. Babbling tokens. Where will we go from here? I think perhaps the rooftops of Sansepolcro. …

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