The narrative was created just before the pandemic, but I found it anticipated my endless shopping treks for my large young family. By completion it was a part of “the pause.” This 5 minute segment is of Stan entering a cave of (extinct) cave-lion/cave-bear to meditate on privations. “Remembering Brakhage” is a half hour radio play of the last days of the great artist-filmmaker. In a post-pandemic world, Stan sets off on a shopping trip to wander strange deserts and ends up in the wastes of British Columbia, where he is “saved” by a tiny community of transgender survivalists. The ghosts of Michael McClure, wives and children, and his dog Sirius, are all conjured – including the toxic dyes of his hand-painted films that some say did for him.
& so I followd th camels acros the Aral dezert, & becam deszrt blind, & folowed the unwobbling vizion of my clozed eye, a milky ripple of foggd film at the ecges of th wirrld:
hwat is a mann w/ut his Bolex, outcast w/ut proboscis to mak senss of strange distans —
a fhantom limb wanting a speare for a distant wooly rhino
find him a cave keeping deth w/ th stink of a steppe lion,
a hominid w/ fyre
a murdering brand
crawl in w/ yr fyre, manchild, sputtering on the walls w/ colured rags of licht —
a text of liht lic a lic a
flange flaer iluminating a thozand caves/
a wall flickering bison countless unto deeth/
a text on
lik a text lic lihte/ a thusand yellow eyeteeth waiting flash of hell
whers Michal McLur when y/ need to flush ut lurking lionbær — Heere, eet him insted!
Hunker in th belly of a beste — th surge of yr own blood smashing yr eares — & wacche the silent cameraless projecterless movie flickering stickmen in a crackling torch…
hwus that breething —
Is it yoo or me!
a text of darknes/
ech spoke flinging prehensile tunggs & fingers
a schyning blade th thikness of liȝt
I, a depresing modernist caveman, brooding w/ other glowering animals, wy they refusd my arts endowment…
Th torch gutters ut. The phosfene mandalas ar dansing. Th retinal rods see me. A competing predator w/ a begging bowl.
You want me? — want sume haery swetty mete — yu smell me?
Swilch baffle-bag darkness. My hand tuches a stone smooth as pulver, th shap of a tool, th waȝht of a camera. How much doz a Bolex weiȝh in darknes… can yu feel it? — open th camera door, clip th heed & feed it thru th gate, th sprockets sonding richt, & onto th take-up spool. Can yoo do that felid seer! — ursine moðer! Hahn? Can yoo change th motor speed? Cud yoo engineer a Kern lenz to smash my skull in? Hanh? Cud you?… You sit tihte ther Neanderþal momma.
The swæt is running off me.
Taking it off heere boss!…Dont get too excited back ther. If Mike was heere hed probably hump yu… Man, Id film þat.
I cd tak th film ut of its cooking can, finger peint in cave silt. Hwat is a man naked for exsept to paynt. A chthonick urge to smear th blind muck, & mark me pattern-making poet. Wat colour am I — ashenfast spook — burnt cloaca
chew it into coaltar paste & spray it over yr hands, swashing glittering piche
Holy cow, I think Im hiȝh on batshit.
Crawl ut of th cave muth — scarifyd & clannd progenitor patris — a handprinted animalskin of stars…
If I cd spit my berried oxides into yr skyz!
It wil always be hardship for a wandering monk to receve all by begging, & nothing by begging…today he goz forth in th skyblew robe, tomorow his ass is faling ut.
& so he joyns th migrating herds & mastadons acros th Bering bridg, to fynd academick tenure in an empti department, w/ th dire wulfs & hyena.
If y/ shud fall doon unconscius in th crushing cold, let th wild animals ravage yu — perfect in no acsion.
Khaled Hakim 2020
Khaled Hakim has a background in film production and poetry, publishing sparingly in the 1990s as the first BAME experimental poet in the UK. He left both film and writing in the early 2000’s to pursue a spiritual path, becoming a Sufi musician.
The previously published work has belatedly been published as Letters from the Takeaway (Shearsman 2019). The Book of Naseeb is published by Penned in the Margins (2020). The Routines is forthcoming with Contraband Books.