Postcards from the edge
'Postcards from the edge' is a collaboration with writer Carly Rawson, and featured in the multimedia publication 'Legend'. This work was commissioned by Chart Collective in 2017.
'Postcards from the edge' can be viewed in full <HERE>
Carly Rawson and Chart Collective Editor Sophie Allen discuss 'Postcards from the edge' on Radio National <LISTEN>
Dear ..................... ,
We were always going to do something wholesome on a Sunday, like go to the zoo. I didn’t really believe we would but I kept up the charade for you. I wanted us to hold hands and look through the glass and realise that we were animals too. Just instinctive creatures with simple needs. I wanted us to see that there was no mystery about us.
But you said wait, wait for the baby elephant. Then it was born broken. The poor thing couldn’t stand. Its ankles were turned backwards as if while in the womb it had understood the terrible weight of its captivity and decided not to bear it.
I want you to know it wasn’t you. It was the elephant. That was the thing that was too much in the end, that made me realise I needed a border, a clearly defined horizon, something crystalline and pure. I needed to know something again.
As we fought outside our home that evening, I could tell things about passersby with more certainty. We were soaking wet in the rain. The flats were too high, the traffic was too loud, our skin didn’t seem to sit straight on us anymore. There we stood, you and I, with the looming city skyline blurring behind us in mist and fumes. I felt like I was dog paddling in the frigid winter air, taking on water. I know you were trying, and I was too, but we were looking at all the wrong remedies.
It started as a game, this habit we formed of obscuring ourselves from each other. Reassembling ourselves like doodling on an image in a newspaper. It starts cute, a moustache, boobs, a giant obscene dick, and then snowballs into a blanket, blue erasure. Simple defacement, no art or merit, just crude, tangled ink.
And why, after those sublime years of frenzied excavations, when we were uncovering the truth in each other, emerging more naked and shining and perfect than if we’d just been born?
That, dear heart, was a sacred process. You don’t get another shot at it. You are only ever pure once.
So I was cold and the cold hurt and central heating didn’t work and nor did the sun. You were blue with ink and blurred by distance. We were never going to go to the zoo. And the baby elephant lay like a useless grey sack on its grey concrete floor waiting for the needle. That’s why I left. I remembered that unlike that poor fucking elephant, my legs worked.