* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.


25 October 2001
Matt holds the cards.

How I love. Oh, how I love you. And how I have loved you, from so far.

And how you'll love me, how water will turn to wine for us, how the air will shine for us, how dark will turn into light for us. How these words, this spell will pull us to each other; the magic my words weave shall bond you to me: a heart opens -- souls mix -- lips press. With these words. With these words.

But first.

But first I'll say again how we met.

No light, low down on the floor, close by the TV: we saw the world shift that night. When the first tower came down a spasm went over the Earth and we had to face as one an all-too-other new dawn. The seven of us there came close in to bathe in the blue glow that had meant not true but now it had an ugly tinge of truth, of death, and in a burst the room was cold, and we shook, and it was the brush of you past me I felt as we moved in - arm on bare arm - gave me an odd heat in my chest - so that I felt young, alone but at the same time warm - the tiny bumps on your upper arm, soft hairs stuck up, the touch of your flesh - like old was new - we knew as much as when we were born - babes - the touch of you - the sense of you - and the awful truth of that night - and we fell into each other, and we held each other, cheek to cheek, eyes wide, your tears on my face - as the world fell down.

And that was that. Later, weeks later, I tried to be as close to you again, only to find that wasn't what you had in mind from me. I took you for a drink, I tried to help you have fun. I asked you about what you liked to do, about what you did in your spare time, about your dog. There wasn't a thing I said that wasn't just right, just so.

But: "This isn't what I liked about you," you said, "This isn't what I meant. This isn't the you from the other night."

"Don't you know about games? You don't know?" you said, and like you said, I hadn't a clue what you meant.

So you told me about the two types of games.

First, think about Ludo. (Well, I tried, but all I could think about was the glow of the light on you, a slim line down your side; the idea of my hand down that line, a soft touch along that curve, your full hips, your long legs.) First, think about Ludo. (Again, and that time I did hear since I saw your lips with my eyes, and a touch of them in my head. So, I hung there on from your every word.)

Ludo is a game of rules. And how ever many of you there are that play -- it's only you that plays, in the end. You all play in the rules. That's what it's about. How else could you? So, you play the rules, and you play the rules as acted by every other who plays. It's only you, and those rules. And since you want to obey the rules, it's just you. You want to win? You win. You want to lose? You lose. Some rules. Some game.

But life's not like that, you can't be a loner.

Think about the other sort of game, you said. The kind you used to play as a kid. What's The Time Mr Wolf. Stuck in the Mud. Tag. Where were the ends? At what point did you win?

There wasn't one. The game would carry on and on, you and so many other kids. Talk, run, fight. Break trust, be brave, make deals. There was no win state, there was just the game, a game of life, a game to learn to live. Child to child. Human. Real.

And that's what it was like the other night (you went on, in the bar). It wasn't like I was going out with you so you could buy me a drink or two, be nice to me, work your way into my heart, make me like you. Those are your rules, your Win State, not mine.

That night, when we held each other, when I put my head in your lap and felt the touch of your hand in my hair, as we both saw the world alter that time -- that wasn't a game. There was no story. No match. No rules in the Real World. We fell into each other, like it was fated to be. That's what it has to be like. You can't try to win me. This isn't Ludo.

And you left it there. And we went home. Apart.

I had a lot to think about that night. I found it hard to see what you meant. Ludo? Games? I didn't quite get what you said. Did you mean that I had to chase you, catch you, like kids? Or - and then it all fell into place - that I was not to play by the rules! I must not be the same!

If only there was some way I could prove what I felt to you. If only there was some way I could pour out my love for you, but at the same time show that it wasn't a usual kind of love, but one that would twist and turn under any weird sort of order for you. But what kind of twist could it be, so you'd see?

And then I knew...

Now here I am, and here we are. I asked you to come round to talk, and it's dark now, and we sit, close as we talk, my leg round your back, your hand on my thigh, and my voice has taken us these last few hours: until now, open with each other; then you talk quiet in my ear; then your mouth a light brush on mine, I feel you warm on my face, the soft of your chest push on me as we hug - fold into each other, wide eye to wide eye, rapt, quick heart, your touch darts along the back of my neck, our very souls as hard to pick apart as smoke so close are we. Your kiss-- your kiss is life, is my life, is the two of us alive and whole at long last. And as we curl into a point mark, a small round mark on the floor, as we hold the other as tight and hard as we can, a ball of sense and touch and gasps at what new magic we find; I open up once and for all and I say what rule it is I obey for you, what vault I have made, what mad rod I have been under to make you love me.

And so, now, you'll see, I'll say, for you, as a gift:

I've made all the words in my whole piece have five letters or fewer. Five. Or fewer. Letters.

Oh. Oh, fuck.

(You pull away, look at me not sure at what I've said, shake your head, stand up, and walk off into the dark room. "You just don't get it, do you?" you say, "You just don't get it at all." I stare into my hands. In shock. But I didn't hear you. Hadn't heard you. I don't hear you now. And I don't see you go out. I just. Can't. Quite. Grasp. It.)


And after all that.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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