Gone to Stone

Composed in Prague in 1994 and performed by the Fierce Throat screaming choir (once only).

This piece has returns to me from time to time… fragments from it weave through my thoughts… I dug it out and had to make something of it again. It was such a strong piece to perform, text and voices crass-thatched, parts in German and harmonies backwards against the forward spoken word score.

It was first performed in late 1994 at Where Are The Silences, an evening of spoken word held at a sculpture gallery in Melbourne and organised by a Persian Poet, who requests to remain nameless, and myself.

Gone to Stone

I came out of Wall. Perhaps off it. I don’t know. It may have been any wall. Keeping some thing out, some thing in. Now I am free of it.

gone to stone

Straddling the top I see both sides of Wall. The people there look and act the same as the people here. But neither sees me. I know I am here. The sun that warms my skin as it does theirs.

Der sonne mach spas micht mein fleish!

Climbing down I touch Wall. The stone is warm where I’d left it. I don’t know why I’m here nor why I was there… I remember rain and the touch of a thousand hands…

Everyone must like the Wall. They like to feel the coarse stone. Perhaps they wish to remember when they too were of stone. Now I look into those faces they indeed are of stone… expressionless sonte – no warmth, no cold, just stone. Perhaps they’ve gone back to it but remain doomed to flesh?

And now I’m off stone I must walk amongst these faces, these faces with eyes that don’t see me.

I leave the Wall and take cobble-stoned steps in the passages amongst the faces that don’t see me. There are those who stand by and watch. Theirs is a glance I do catch. They too must be off the Wall. But I don’t remember them. Perhaps they don’t know me either. Yet we look each other though.

The sun that warmed my skin is now gone. There are stars. The streets are lit. I’m still walking and stone is everywhere. Occassionaly I’ll touch it. When I do I remember everything. But only glimpses of everything in smells and wonder. It’s enough.

I go on for days like this, familiarising myself with this place. As I coem to know it more I find I’m walking the same streets. I can’t get lost! In stone there are a thousand landmarks.

I find the knowing of this place and that comforting. Everyday I feel more and more secure, more at home. Home?

I stop.

I’ve not been looking for home. What then? Perhaps a world beyond the Wall. But now it seems there’s no out wall, just inside….

I return to where I came. I touch the stone. It’s cold. I feel it radiate through my hand. I press my body to it, but there’s no warmth to be found.

Touching, pressing, touching, pressing: cold through and through.

I turn slowly to face my new world, to accept my new world and find I’m surrounded by the faces… They all see me now. I press my back into the Wall. I feel it give way to me. I press myself to it. It makes to break so I raise my arms to take its weight. The Wall drops to my shoulders. My muscles strain. I will not be crushed.

I look out from under my burden at the faces to find they’ve been replaced by another party of faces, then another, and another and so it goes…

I take the weight knowing now we have all gone back to stone!

Garton 1994

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