To recall. The contours of a voice, the way light fell on it. You try to recast it by blowing it out delicately like mellow glass through a sentence that sounds familiar, that would have been possible.
But the voice keeps melting down, refusing to solidify in contact with air. In memory, it moults.
Writing by ear, you hold onto what sounds, what has enough body for air to breathe through it.
You are perched on the edge of your room, looking out. She is a glimpse between the mounds of upturned earth and concrete, appears and disappears behind the rising cement pillars. The building site doesn’t have any of its usual hum and whirr, none of the grating sounds that keep you distracted when you try to work, read, or just sit and think of nothing. The fox appears like a sign, dust around a ruined temple. By the time you’ve picked your camera up, she’s gone.
Windswept paint covers the surface in swathes of colour vigorous.
The dash of dark on the painting does not want to be grasped. The more you look, try to rest on the buzz at the edge of the large windstroke-brushstroke, the more your eyes drift away, as if wearing glasses that have not been fitted properly.
Paint on the canvas is either extremely thin, running in rivulets, mixing with other wet colours in its course downstream, or loud and thick, an excoriation. The dark stripe keeps drawing you in yet unsteadies you. It is as once an open passageway, an exit, and the splinter of wood on the doorframe that catches on your clothes.
Joan Eardley’s skies are plumbeous, lifted above unsteady shores, weighting heavy, Payne’s grey.
The auto-generated transcript saves time, but you still go back and hear it all again, a handful of seconds at a time. Esto es un poco como su suposición también que dice. Over and over. Para que se olla para que se oigan.
At points, Speaker 1 stumbles into repetitions so long they throw you off your feet yyyyyloslosloslosloslos you lose sight of the sentence. Until yyyyy los otros he gains ground again, repetitions like the rhythmic tapping of a foot counting out time until the phrase spins round once more.
Keeping so close to the voices, you see them in the room, even though you were not there. See the hands gesticulate, the eyes widen, the voices take shape. Rising and falling, doubling over, dipping and swelling, layering substances, material and tangible. And you are right there, perched on a shoulder, you can feel the vibrations on your cheek.
You’re walking fast to meet someone, and keep from the drizzle that slithers inside your collar. You’re in a different city, so the fox could not be the same. Back from her wanderings, she crosses the road in front of you, slips through the fence into the grassy bit at the bottom of the castle. In your photograph, a tawny blur in the green.
The transcript of a language you don’t know is populated by words-that-remind. Each is a funnel to a language now past, a voice mostly gone, something that sounds like. Wading through the text, words reveal themselves in flickers and flashes. Familiarity to familiarity, reminder to reminder. Ruin to ruin.
Tuned to assonance, rather than precise correspondence, you find yourself closer to the text and its speakers. Can approximation lead to a more intimate knowledge? Knowing things by the shadow they cast; the memory of their shape around the mouth; the vague chimera of their sound. Words brushing past. But in the split-second contact.
This is a bit like a supposition también says he I have to lower my voice to hear others.
On the shore after a storm, remainders and reminders of what is no longer.
After you have left, you imagine yourself standing at the edge of the day on the sea. Writing is calling, re-calling. Elongating in desire, springing back in remembrance, you face both backwards and forwards, held. In the tension between moments that are no longer and not yet, a doubling that is also one.
To recall—calling back from the gone, yet also call again, repeat. A series in which each element forebodes the next, already included within itself. An archway, a threshold, a passageway; a two-faced chimera looks both ways, leaving and coming back, the first step away and the final nostos. Both moments exist at the same time in antithesis. She is a swaying.
To [go] elastic. Emily Dickinson, 1863-64.
Esto es un poco como su suposición también que dice […] Para que se olla, para che se oigan.
Joaquín Vazquez, quoting Miguel Benlloch, 2022.
Enxhi Mandija is a writer. She is a graduate of the MLitt in Art Writing at the Glasgow School of Art. Her writing has appeared on SPAM Zine, The Yellow Paper, The List and The Elphinstone Review amongst others. She is Assistant Curator at Peacock & the worm, Aberdeen.