Oscillation – Cath Barton

Inspired by the 1924 film Le Ballet Mécanique

Coming towards me. Constantly arriving. The space, and the sirens. Nothing to be done. It will go on and on. And the whiteness will be infinite and the counting, one, two to five million, pearls of wisdom, or pearls before swine, though no animal passed through the gates. Only the constant stream of the batterie de cuisine, the whisks, ah the whisks, beating the cream for the mille-feuilles of our imagination. The perfect cakes that we will never eat, though they will be for ever captured on the celluloid, and people will dance as women blink, slowly. With a perfect mouth. A moue, n’est-ce pas? But point d’expression. Is it not odd, that there was, at that time and at that distance, another kind of –? No, the word will not mark the page. There is, rather, a white triangle. And a white circle, and one will embrace the other at a point which is off screen. Very clever. I think. You think? There is very little room for thought, just the constant beat, beat, beat of, no, not a drum, but a whisk. In perfect synchronicity. Je pense. Therefore I am. Who? Moi. And are you behind the camera or in front of it? And who blinks in the (dull) light of day. I see only the dark and the flickering and it goes on. And on. Shift now, and still on. And dance, but only legs. And perhaps the yes. And a mouth. The bow of the mouth, which does not speak. Merveilleux! There is, on the cutting room floor, if we could but find it, could find the door on the street in the right city. It would be in France. Or America of course. And there, on the floor, snippings of celluloid. Sharp, shiny, many-sided, or perhaps three-sided. Or circular. Circulating. Circus. Cirque de la lune. I found her, later, on the street, and she was crying. She could not show it at the time. It would have been the same for you, under that pressure, that relentless calling out of one, two, three and the pearls. The promised pearls. Which she never saw. Malheur! How could it be. But it was. And is. And ever shall be. Sur l’écran. Ici. Là. Or somewhere else, just beyond.

Cath Barton is the author of two novellas, The Plankton Collector (2018, New Welsh Review) and In the Sweep of the Bay (2020, Louise Walters Books). https://cathbarton.com/

Image via Pixabay

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