The Engagement Party
Gretna Green, our bolthole at the border. Story-laden flatlands.
The old coaching route now overlined with the A74
I’m weighed down with you
Bogged land, soggy with yearning.
I wish I had a wife to clean my clothes and cut my hair and feed me love.
I miss dates, forget to shower, leave emails unanswered. I tell a friend to meet me one day, only to postpone to two weeks later.
I don’t have sex.
I wish I lived in Las Vegas, I’d get married every day to two different partners, I’d have a small farm and many legitimate children. The children would watch Pinky and The Brain in the way I watch the news and we’d all believe in metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls.
There would be no bouquets in our kitchen but wheatsheafs, braided into halos and hearts, tacked on the wall and wound to her soft neck and perfumed head. Or winged ponytail appendages for my bride-in-the-sky.
While I’d tie my knot so many times I’d have no hair left.
I’d sit in my library with ladders and admire soviet art, narrative, talismans. I’d have horseshoes nailed above my hearth spelling out a bigger horseshoe and giant legs– suited with cashmere blue socks – hanging from the ceiling. A goliath I couldn’t be, limb-loosened in desire I couldn’t have. I’m big money though. Big money in copper coins. Strewn in queenly quantities across the bed, prepared with pink quilts and yielding cushions. With a basin at the bedside for gathering them back up once my cravings are sated.
What lies between the hammer and the anvil?
The dark pools of frosty relations and a lack of filial ties.
My priest will be your priest. We’ll have paper garlands, balloons, wine and cheese. The canapés will be served by waitresses on roller blades in oversized clothing.
You will bitch about my wedding.
Yet its scale will melt your heart for I have fled evil, I have found what is better.
It may be too cliché to say I’m in love but I’ll wear my bridal dressing gown day and night and we’ll eat pancakes in the mornings. A happy wife is a happy life.
Butter making today!
A mouse that drowned in cream because it stopped swimming,
Something of a metaphor for perseverance.
£1.75 metallic lonely hearts falling in plumes, curdling with the mice
And in the crevices of the wooden trunk
Holding the anvil aloft,
too delicate for blows.
As a toybox child I yearned to be free, juice lemons, and grow to be nine feet tall even though I didn’t know that the foot measure isn’t actually a foot.
And feet aren’t all the same size.
Eros - limb loosener - come savage my feet. Take the whole ass to Achilles too.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is my least favourite Beatles’ song. I prefer Verdi or Wagner or Gottfried Benn.
Once upon a time getting married only involved the man going to the woman’s residence. He’d then take her home and they were married. This was the 12th century.
One day the church, wishing to strengthen its standing, flex some muscle, and keep some records for the looming birth of the nation-state decided that, to be considered valid, all marriages would have to have their consent.
And thus appeared the mighty marriage certificate. Backdated to please your parents or legitimise your children like mine on the farm.
Basically because the offspring of the aristocracy were often the targets of “bigamists and penniless opportunists”.
As an offspring of the aristocracy, I can happily say we are the bigamists and opportunists, just the ones with the money to write the history books. I’ll make sure you get a first in your exam.
In Gretna Green I read out early lonely hearts stapled to the wall.
We have a repentance stool and think the bed trick quite neat.
Marriage is invalid if conducted in the hours of darkness.
I’d like a little turtle dove to stand beside me with a veil on and little kid gloves on.
Greasy hair to gauzy face
Tongue shattered; handfasting
An un-upholstered love
We’ll ignore the glaring truth of my marriage and conduct The Affair in the light of powder-blue mornings, untouched gin fizzing on the bedside table.
Paloma Proudfoot lives and works in London. As well as her solo sculptural practice, Proudfoot works in collaboration with artist and choreographer Aniela Piasecka, with whom she is co-director of performance group Stasis.
Aniela Piasecka lives in Glasgow and works between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Piasecka’s practice is choreographic and often collaborative. She works with sculptor Paloma Proudfoot under Proudfoot and Piasecka and as co-director of Stasis as well as with other visual artists, dancers and musicians. Recent collaborative works include ‘belittle’, Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall, London (2017); ‘Letters’, The Royal Standard, Liverpool (2017); ‘Made To Be Broken’, Edinburgh International Art Festival (2016); and ‘The Jockey’, originally made at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (2015), also shown at Bloc Projects, Sheffield; Union Club Studios, London; and Buzzcut Festival, Glasgow (all 2016).
The artists wish to thank Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop for support throughout their Micro Residency.
This text was first printed to accompany ‘The Engagement Party’, performed on 16/12/17. MAP thanks ESW for permission to publish.