All original work © 2009 - 2017 Alexey Provolotsky

28 December 2011

Demonstrations under my windows



They keep demonstrating under my windows. Draped in flags and slogans, they do something to my blood. They make it cold. So that I have to put on clothes, more clothes – every time it’s more clothes. I listen up, I take my pencil, I write it down. I don’t know why I bother, but it must be the words they shout. Each time their words are like a bite of ice-cream gushing and whooshing through my warm, comfortable, unprepared teeth. I busy myself with some odd writing. It’s good therapy. It stretches the muscles, it numbs the effect.

Every step of theirs is a step of a trespasser invading my private space. It makes my heart heavy, and I look around. My kids: are they safe? They are, beautiful and oblivious between screens and headphones, they won’t notice or hear a thing. For them, it’s all about Facebook friends, tight jeans and pop stars. The demonstration has nothing to do with them. And while we are at it, it has nothing to do with me either. Me? I just want my warmth back.

Gone are the days when you could just look out of the window sucking on an orange, watching telly or doing some abstract knitting. These days you have to pay attention. Which is annoying. When you are a teenager and something’s annoying, you are just annoyed. But when you are my age (48), and something’s annoying, you are not just annoyed: there’s also something about your lungs. About your heart. Some headache. Some kidney disorder. Something to consult your physician about. Something about your blood.

Also, this uncertainty. Win it, for God's sake. Win it, please. Win it. Or get lost.

In the meantime, I’m reduced to a sorry figure so reminiscent of an old spinsterish woman leaning against the wall, pricking up her ears and trying to discern the details of the hysterical row of the newly-weds. Still, I’m more than that: I’m writing it all down in my notebook. I’m keeping my secret diary: the slogans, the number of demonstrators, the exact date… There's no easy way to explain this, but I guess I’m not doing this for others. For once, I'm doing it for myself.

And then comes the snap, at the end of each day, when suddenly the whole thing ceases. I switch off the lights, roll down under my window-sill, and cover my eyes and ears with the palms of my hands. Outside there are screams, sounds of violence and apparently the sight of blood spurting out on the pavement and on the road. The raving hissing of cars means that the demonstration's well and truly over. 


I wish they stopped. I wish the goddamn demonstrators didn’t have to come tomorrow, for their own sake.

When it all quiets down a bit, and it does, somewhere around midnight, I start tearing off my clothes. I do that because I sincerely believe that I won't be needing them, now that another demonstration has gone astray. Deep down, there's a fear that they might arrest me – for I have this notebook full of bad letters and cold, uncomfortable words. My secret diary: something to arrest me for.

Also, even when it all quiets down to the point of total, undiluted silence, even at those rare moments: I’m not getting any warmer. I’m not. I'm just not.


8 December 2011

Pornographic fantasia on Sarah Lucas


Sarah Lucas woke up one morning to find her room covered in genitalia. On first glance, the genitalia was all human, but as her eyes kept piercing through the fuzzy cobweb of recent sleep, Sarah could see that this was in fact not the case. The genitalia (and Sarah was quite an expert on the subject) was way too exotic, bizarre, inexplicable. Some of it could belong to porcupines, to giant hedgehogs, to unicorns, to creatures from Mars.

Sarah Lucas was greatly animated. Her first intention was to call the police, but it was soon replaced by another one: to call her manager and set up a London exhibition for next Sunday. In the end, she decided against both. Partly because all the sockets in her room now strongly resembled vaginas (which meant she could hardly plug in her discharged mobile phone) and partly because the moment she picked up her Blackberry from the bedside table, the Blackberry turned out to be a ridiculously huge penis with what seemed and felt like a monstrously stiff erection.

Sarah got out of bed. She wanted to believe that hers was a case of an extremely high postmodernist fever, but the more she familiarized herself with what insisted to be her room, the less it looked like some particularly fucked-up hallucination. Oddly, all was in place: the Oriental vase, her working tools, her hat, the beautiful disarray of her works – it’s just that by some divine or devilish will it had all turned overnight into this amazing mess of cocks and pussies. Sarah was again and again reminded of that typewriter scene in Cronenberg’s adaptation of Naked Lunch… The Oriental vase was a true sensation. To say that she had never seen (or, indeed, imagined) anything quite like that would have been a gross understatement. This was monumental, this could humble a mammoth.

She cast a heavy but already sleepless glance in the direction of her bed. Yes, that too. Jesus, what kind of female (bar Mother Earth, of course) could possess that?!

Did Sarah enjoy it all? Did she consider this… interesting, exciting, alluring? In some strange way she did. The whole thing looked kind of breathtaking, artsy and edgy to the point of total delirium. But there was some restless feeling, too. What if it wasn’t just this room of hers that had genitalia spread all over it? What about the kitchen? What about the forks and the cups? What if a saggy pair of walrus testicles was now hanging from the ceiling in every room of her apartment? Instead of her exquisite chandeliers? Her imagination kept painting the labialized toilet bowl. No, she couldn’t possibly bring herself to that. No way.

Sarah made her second move of the morning and immediately stepped onto something. She looked down. The strangely soft and inflated pencil ejaculated lavishly all over her bare feet. Now this was disgusting. What else was disgusting? Well, the fact that it was all her yesterday’s work. Her sculptures, her sketches, even a couple of still-life paintings. Ruined now, mutilated, gone, dead, turned real.

And then Sarah remembered something. Her drawings! Her childhood drawings were stuffed somewhere under her bed, and without thinking twice Sarah Lucas selflessly threw herself on the floor (which, thankfully, still looked like the floor). There was a long cancerous pause before Sarah reemerged with a dusty, yellow roll of paper.

- Intact, – uttered Sarah, trying to spread it open.

She couldn’t. In her very own hands, right there and then, the roll of paper was slowly but mercilessly turning itself into a ridiculously huge… banana.