Temenos: City Under the Skin FoCA 2001

The City Under the Skin: Three Shrines in Temenos

From the Temple of Lost Suburban Dreams Monologue I

A woman speaks of her life at home as a mother and a wife

I live in a rather small kingdom, it sounds odd, I know, but I like it. My world is tiny, shaped by mundane, routine things that you have all forgotten. I always wanted a house, I wanted to get married and have kids, ordinary things. You’re not really supposed to want that anymore, all those magazines that are on about how to achieve the perfect orgasm, a home that looks like no-one ever lived in it, children that like to be creative with cooking and play dough, women who do housework as a kind of therapy. Careers and motherhood, juggling time. As if you could.

A house has a kind of rhythm to it, you have to understand its moods and its seasons of light and shadow. The echoes that live in the walls. Each house keeps its own particular history, it’s the map of our lives, a mark on the wall here, a small crack in a window, all of them a kind of physical witness to what happened, what endures beyond those events that caused them.

Is there a more damning word than suburbia?

But when it’s quiet here, when the kids are asleep and he’s comatose, I can almost hear the mountains breathing, I look out into the night and I can see the terrace of the sky, the beginning of eternity. Birds flock in the morning, their wild beaks raking the grass, the architraves; at sunset the windows are incandescent with light. And in winter the house wraps its arms around us and we shelter like nestlings into its hidden crevices, it unfolds its secrets in the wind. You have to know how to listen, the house has a language, it whispers and sighs, it enfolds us. I watch the moon out of the kitchen window. In summer it looms up over the mountain like a giant’s Christmas bauble, some nights I think if I open the windows it will come in, all of it. And the stars, the way they’re flung through the sky, first frost and the ice cracking in the earth. Or springtime and the way blossoms fall like white and pink rain. And the house is part of all of this, and more, it’s the house of memory, like a cradle or a grave.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Verdon said,

    April 16, 2008 at 12:03 am

    … the house as a time machine …

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