Through the Crack.

Clover Peake.


I stumble. I stumble. I said, I stumble. Where? Into the bricks and dirt. I didn’t mean to … was rushing … had to, before things changed again. Changes hurt, so I just want to mess with it. Break it. Break it before … you know … before it changes.


There’s that cry again – a cry of injustice, a cry of loss, echoing down the lino-covered corridor, a cry disappearing behind a keyhole with hushing sounds. 


The plywood bed has wheels on it. Straps dangle over its side. There are no brakes on the wheels – they are broken anyway. The bed goes where it wants to. Outside, people stare. The bed threatens to career off down the path and into the pond.


Inside, the walls have fine cracks in them. Whisper through the cracks and anything is possible: inconceivable shapes and sizes, and reckless colours.


The sun made the cracks in the walls. Little voices can be heard if you press your ear to them. It’s really just colours, I think. Though perhaps not.


The cracks are plastered over; then painted over and painted over again. The cracks keep appearing and become part of the wall. You need to whisper through them. That can’t change. The need for this becomes more important than the permanence of the wall.


But I’m thinking about that clearing in the woods. You remember the one, with the smashed up greenhouse? Shards dangling from the disappearing ceiling. And beyond the woods there was that field that turned black in winter. Burnt soil. They razed it to the ground. Were they allowed to do that? No permission granted? That field was as black as the crows hidden in it. It sleeps in my mind … save it for another day. Think of colour. Think of red for mother and pink for girl. Think something else, I don’t know – yellow for sunshine or green lawns in summer. Is that better?


I’m thinking something else now, like trying to cast judgement on a kettle. I can’t, it’s just there. There was rubble in the corridor, sometimes on the floor or about to drop from the ceiling. My boyfriend asked what it was; I said, “I don’t know”. I was just waiting by the door thinking of a kiss. But he really wanted to know. I said, “It’s art”, but that didn’t help. It never does.


I think of otherness, plurality, incongruity. These aren’t fleeting rarities, they are inevitabilities. I once did a five minute course in hand washing, knee deep in dirt. And I know, sometimes, terror grips our hearts when things don’t match up neatly. But ugliness can be like that bumble bee I feared as a child and you said, ”He’s very nice” … There are always roses and snow and oranges and someone crying and someone satisfied. Are these so separate; are they not somehow linked by their otherness? I hope so, however fragile that is.

Is everything functional? Even when broken? A kettle provides hot water or a pan of boiling water provides for cooking and drinking – something for the body. Art moves us in our heart, lungs, chest, arms, eyes, or in our brain. It embraces plurality, not the false expectation of relentless order.

Look through the gates into the courtyard. Someone used to sit there, eating oranges in summer. Now, trellises are stacked up, used for who knows what?




Clover Peake    Oct./Nov. 2013.