Zoe Skoulding and Ian Davidson


Collaboration Number 19

She paced the floor between the work surface and the double drainer
behind the ash panels were tins of bean some hard cheese a list of
things undone her apron strings loose stomach full of news
that stays news. A mouse rattled plastic and was gone as fugitive
lives played out in folds of a lettuce a centipede and two slugs
getting away from it all she stared past Sunday's papers into the
week ahead the walls beaded with condensation. The moisture from the
chemical reactions of gypsum plaster formed a hard skin over the
work a wall does the way it holds up the roof and how the joists tie
in beneath the disturbed meniscus of boiling water spring greens.
Objects accumulated; each one shed pasts, the dust tidal. There were
too many words like shredded leaves falling away from the knife, as
if you'd ever get to the point of it all
before steam rose up the window, clouding the issue.

The pace of stepping out. The price of movement. The age of consent.
Yes. Old enough to sign up. I give up. I give out. From the
centrifugal force of the kitchen to the bakers past the greengrocers
to the butchers. The pace of life the price of signing on. Back to
the kitchen, front peering through the window the sounds of
childhood like chopping carrots. Back to the wall and crying like a
baby forcing down food. A kitchen table on its own in the middle of
a room in the middle of a life far from its beginnings. She knew
many words for love and this was none of them. The price of starting
all over again and doing it differently.

Powdered soap mixed with the dust and everything was
out of place. Fine particles of skin and cement settled
everywhere. I was restless with the effort of keeping track of where
I'd put anything down, locations swimming like numbers too large to
multiply in one easy movement. What to feel? Tired from the day's
work? A series of acts to be attended to and always ambition that stokes
anguish and the love that drives our motors. The work that 'should' be done
the work that 'could' be done and the words bubbling like mouth wash.

A sterile surface. A process of decay. Spores hang in air waiting to
land. The land sown with decay. A sterile process. A surface hangs.
The air sown with waiting. There is adequate room for circulation.
Moisture is inevitable. In the landscape we inhabit a mouth
stopped with kisses pools of tinted water gather droplets in the summer sun
it takes time dismantling the walls I stop buy the daily amazing.

Paint shines, still wet but drying slowly. Air passes parted lips,
not simple air, of course, but air properly mixed.