Review: Stephen O’Malley, Brighton Apr 13, 2014


Scenario One:

A man walks beside a wide stream at night. He wears no shoes and dry scratchy blades of grass poke between his toes, and are crunched underfoot with each successive step. The hem of his dark jeans is turned up above a pale ankle and he walks lugubriously, occasionally casting his dark, unkempt hair back as he glances up at the trees that crowd the bank, stretching their long skeletal silhouettes across the pale disc of a moon above.


Scenario Two:

You are standing in a wide, shallow stream. Your feet are cool but the rest of your body is feverishly warm: the climate here is stifling – hot and heavy as Florida on a July evening. But the water swishes around your ankles, weaves through your toes and it’s refreshing, if not entirely comfortable. So you decide to walk ahead, water lapping with each step at the hem of your black jeans. The stream winds and your path is not straight. You become acutely aware of the current – its minute alterations of speed, strength, and intensity, its minor rapids and eddies, the way it exerts constant pressure on your quickly fatigued legs like an ineluctable humming.


Scenario Three:

The orgasm doesn’t end; instead it becomes intensified and prolonged indefinitely. Your body collapses and admits the convulsive rhythm that washes it in continual waves rippling down your chest, your thighs, over your ankles and between your toes. It doesn’t end and you think, “I’m beginning to panic.” You become aware of your pulse, throbbing in your ears with extraordinary insistence and, because it’s not as frightening as the other, you decide to capitulate to its alternating drone. As you attach yourself to its sound, however, other things start to fall away: the thin pale form beside you; your limp, leaking penis; a dim lamp on the nightstand; the floral bedspread. Last thing to go is your hearing and suddenly you’re claustrophobically alone with an endless throbbing mass that you suddenly realize is and has always been inside you. The epiphany only momentarily assuages a quickly mounting terror.


Scenario Four:

I try very hard to climb onto a platform made out of shiny, black marble, which stands about eight feet above the ground. My fingers grip its edges and I pull myself up by straining muscles, toes pressed against the cool stone. I hoist myself up and see my prize in the distance: a gleaming something or other flickering like lightening above a white altar. My hand reaches out towards it but it recedes from me. The air vibrates, the rock shimmers, and I am back where I started, faced again with the obsidian surface of the platform’s edge.


Scenario Five:

All previous scenarios are attempts to hem the outlines of an abstract form that has neither shape, nor colour, nor smell, and which is monstrous or transcendent in part because it resists such enfolding.


Scenario Six:

Moonlight shows the dark figure of a man step lithely from a slowly coursing brook, onto a bank covered in shadows of spindly, reaching trees. He will walk away through the thicket, out through the fields, far from the stream, getting smaller and smaller until finally he is lost to the black.


~ by schoolboyerrors on April 15, 2014.

2 Responses to “Review: Stephen O’Malley, Brighton Apr 13, 2014”

  1. Great one, I enjoyed reading this. Thank you. SOMA

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