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In Search of Sweetness (2000)
john luke chapman

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The circling air turns the sweat on the back of his bowed head into tiny cold droplets that he follows, in his mind, as they intimately trace down the braille of his spine.

From above the spinning blades slice up the seated figure, like a film reel running frantically too slow, as a darkening line of sweat soaks through his cotton shirt. Frame by frame: the Rorschach geometry of the growing stain cuts through the kiss-cross of his braces and blooms like a butterfly-bruise across his back.

[~fragment]

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“The story of my life doesn’t exist. Does not exist. There’s never any centre to it. No path, no line. There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone, but it’s not true, there was no one.”

Marguerite Duras The Lover (1984)

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Pont de Bir-Hakeim (2004)
john luke chapman

pour F.

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“And then he told her. Told her that it was as before, that he still loved her, he could never stop loving her, that he’d love her until death.”

Duras (1984)

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Prenzl’berg (1998)
john luke chapman

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… a slice of pflaumenkuchen: a plum tart with a sweet pastry base, firm underneath but soft and sticky in the middle, and a clear gelatinous glaze over the halved plums, ripe and soft, that when bitten caused the sharp sour taste of plum-skin to flood through the claggy sweetness. It was like biting into a piece of mercury-filled fudge, only stranger and ever-so-slightly better. He’d eaten a slice the day after he’d moved to Berlin and knew in that moment that this city was where he belonged. He’d never had a slice since, just that once, for fear that the experience wouldn’t be the same. How could it? No experience can ever be re-lived, only sullied, through meagre repetition.

[~fragment]

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See Emily Play (2002)
john luke chapman

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The graveyard of St. Michael and All Angels Church lies adjoining the Haworth Parsonage where a stifled Emily brooded as a child. It cramped and coerced her imagination as she grew but it would always remain her own private playground, her bone orchard, and, all too greedily, her bed.

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In the bottle-glass light of the room the air takes on the dull luminescent quality of dark water, of a deep ocean world lit by the glowing organs of fish who have never sensed the sun, where the living are illuminated by their own cells. Creaklessly rocking in the twilight the room feels sunken and tenuous and cold. The table, chair and body are intimately held in a cradle of wood and air while picked out in the gloom two pale trailing hands hang limply like clawed chicken legs in a butcher’s window. The skin of these hands, carelessly coruscated with rust, looks like cold marbled tallow with empty fingers curling around objects that have long since dissolved. Memory is the last sense to leave the body; the body is left grasping for something it knows to be gone.

[~fragment]

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The Persistance of Vision (2012)
john luke chapman