the m john harrison blog

Month: October, 2015


Lot of ghosts here, most of them your own. This mirror’s not cracked so much as on holiday from itself & you’re bored with the personal lives of the detectives & the footsteps in the hall. & someone was just now saying, At the corner of the stair! & someone else goes, Sure you were. Sure you were. & so she says, It’s been an eye opener this whole situation. The fact is you’re on the short side of everything now, where all you get’s the sound of a man scraping the end of a piece of pipe & there’s a minute’s worth of change every minute & it puts you a long way from the things you felt were near.

the air had an edge: September

Half an hour later Helen Alpert accompanied her client to the door, where, both eager to admit how they would miss one another, they said goodbye. While Anna walked swiftly up Chiswick Mall towards Hammersmith without looking back, Helen crossed the road and leaned on the river wall. It was a sunny morning, but the air had an edge: September, accepting that the game was up. The Thames ran low, with a sullenness that suggested the tide was on the turn. Two or three mallards, who had looked as if they were going to make a morning of it, honking and squabbling in the mud, suddenly took off and swept west, gaining height until they vanished behind the trees on the far bank. Back inside, she put the Waterman file away; then changed her mind and, leafing through it angrily, began to make a fresh set of notes. The client, her personality frozen in adolescence, had disguised herself as an adult for the duration of her marriage to Tim Waterman. To what end ? She had effectively erased the abjection of her life with her first husband, yet remained bound to it, and through it to the unthought known. Why allow the disguise to fall away now ? As to the significance of the repeating dream: other dreams seemed as diagnostically valuable, and moreover came with all the neccessary tools for their own decoding.

From Empty Space, 2012.