A dabble in the dark – my surrealist adventure

How much of what we write fits within certain art or literature movements without us being consciously aware of it? To what extent were we influenced without even knowing? “Revolutionary” ideas could be as old as time itself but does that mean they’re not worth pursuing?

These and other questions floated through my mind after I woke up from a strange dream this morning. Consequently, it led me to play with the idea of surrealism in literature. I never really paid attention to it before but a trip to Google taught me everything I needed to know.

It turns out that I have written a surrealist poem before in my life, I just never knew it; I was unaware of the fact that it fit within the genre. Now, I must admit I never quite understood the poem myself, I just knew I liked it. I will post it below so you can see for yourself. If you have any feedback, let me know. I’m eager to hear it.

However, I wouldn’t be me if I let this idea go to waste so I spent the morning writing a short piece based on my dream. Its readability is lower than my usual work but this is a stylistic choice so I hope you take that into account. I used to think Kafka was a weirdo for not making proper paragraphs but now I totally get him. It just has to be this way. I will post that below the poem. Its title would be A Dabble In The Dark.

So, without further ado, the poem (untitled):

 

The confusion… but the clarity… so

vague but quite clear, I don’t

understand but I do.

The one who finds the peanuts sells

them, but what about the birds?

Expression, for the long forgotten.

In the end, all will make sense.

Alea iacta est.

 


 

A Dabble In The Dark:

 

A pallet of land floating on the sea by the coast, everything is of the purest white. It holds a couple of houses, of the cube kind with straight lines and perfect symmetry. Adjacent to them, some trees, also of the purest white, with their branches drooping to the ground, in their paleness a beauty and a haunting quality, like the once vibrant colours were caught in a cement mill, a rain of white suppressing all further growth, painting the scenery white, but just locally. The grass on the lawns barely visible, reflecting the sun’s bright rays into the eyes of bystanders, glowing under its harshness, victorious where the shore is not. The sea glistening around it, its typical blue-green shade, like glass suspended in motion, surrounding its white kingdom with shimmering beauty that somehow pales in comparison. Literally pales, as the white turns to black, oil dripping down the houses, painting them a gloomy shimmer that still reflects the sun but simultaneously hoards all light. The rays seem suspended in its thick black coating until they’re not, the sun has become unable to reach this piece of heaven on earth. The tree has morphed into some creature of darkness, the whole place in stark contrast but so similar to what it was before.

‘’It’s a monument to those lost to war, the cannons representing a better time in history,’’ the old man, inspector, tells me as we walk past the gruesome construction. He is right, cannons are clearly visible, dripping black where once there used to be something, something else just outside my reach. What had been there previously, what had I seen there before? The glistening of the sea now seems menacing to me, as if I shouldn’t turn my back to it. Something lives there, an evil beyond my comprehension, beyond human comprehension.

‘’It’s a graveyard,’’ I tell him, the headstones clearly visible against the pale blue of the sky which seems unaware of the change in atmosphere, unperturbed by the grotesque puzzle piece in its midst. There is sadness, too, coming from the floating exhibit, so pure it brings tears even to the manliest of eyes. The inspector drags me with him now, pulling me behind him into a building on our left, in which hallway after hallway connect to bring you where you most need to be. I went in there once, came out a year older. But now we stick to the foyer, looking out the window to the sight before our eyes. From this angle the whole seems less menacing, the darkness finally dripping down, letting the purity peek through, littering hope in our hearts. Wasn’t it supposed to be a living complex for the rich and famous, his wife’s golden white figure gracing the squares with her presence? They were triangles now, and the inspector seems a different man. What about the doctor with the pearly teeth who boasted so enthusiastically about – about what?

‘’Let’s go back out, hurricane season has ended by now. It should be safe for us.’’ And we walk, and we walk, leaving the construction behind us, there is no need to look back. It is behind us, we mustn’t look back. Even if it shows its true colours to us now, we must not look back, for we are at war. At war with these beasts. There they are: the gigantic elephant, its long-necked cousin the giraffe, they approach us in silence to the beat of an ancient drum, a drum only they hear as it vibrates through their bones, passed down from generation to generation. That ancient DNA, spread over millennia of peace, of sorrow and of solitude, now they march to its rhythm. Its much smaller shadows run around on the yellow grass, playing a game with anyone who dares approach, while its menacing twins march to our doom. Our doom, after all these decades, was always in the water park. We glide and we glide, the water smoothing around us, propelling us forwards, the occasional dolphin sailing past us.

‘’Watch out, it’s endangered, a whale!’’ I hear in the distance, the others just shrug. I take the chance and glide along, enter the waterslide of life, and see where the current takes me. Up and down, left, right, diagonally. I go everywhere, see everything, but the end is never in sight. Even that vertical drop, where I felt ripped from life, it was nothing. Too late I notice there is no way out. They don’t tell you that before you enter, keep it hidden to attract us, but here we are, gliding and gliding with no end in sight. And meanwhile the elephants and the giraffes approach. One, two, three, left, right, left. One, two, three, left, right, left. A toot to make themselves heard, then back on their merry way. One, two, three, left, right, left. And we glide and we glide as our doom approaches, helpless, all we can do is let it happen, steer to the right when we would go left, not aware the outcome will remain the same. After we’re done with this endless cycle, we cease. We forget to enjoy this, we are at a waterpark of all places, too focused on getting out to enjoy this moment. Too soon it is over and I have aged again, I’m unrecognisable, even to the youngster that operates this thing. It’s the end of the road for me, following in the footsteps of all those who went before me, laying the foundation for those to come. We are all the same, nothing will change. They are already lining up to get in here, the stray ones ridiculed until they submit or disappear.

I am here, I am here, and then I’m not. I have ceased.

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Author: arthurduchannes

Writer, lover of food, interested in a little bit of everything

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