HOUSE A-BURNIN DOWN
“Look out the sky turn a hell fire red Lord
Somebody’s house is burnin’ down down, down down
Look out the sky turn a hell fire red Lord
Somebody’s house is burnin’ down down, down down down…”. Jimi Hendrix, House Burning Down
The house is burning. It’s flames give me a warm, glowing, comforting feeling. Irrespective of the fact that the fire is consuming the evidence of my horrendous crimes (how many -cides can you fit into one Garside?), there seems to be something inevitable about this. That in some way it is a restoration of order, balance.
Except, this is not my house. In terms of our property and capital-based social system I do not even have a house if have is narrowly restricted to mean possession. This is our first family house. Or the first one after we emigrated. They said I could not do anything right, that I was terminally useless and stupid in all spheres of life. And he we are. They are all dead and did not die as peacefully or heroically as they had hoped for or anticipated. Dead, and the house is half way to being burnt down. By the time I finish this piece the half will become three quarters. Is this a case of geometric progression? Or is it that the house will never burn down: the latest application of the old Greek Achilles and the Tortoise philosophical paradox.
I loved, still love, how those Greeks could philosophize things out of existence. Plato with his forms, Aristotle with his teleology. And then solipsism and the logic of mirrors. Narcissus — him who died desperate to embrace his own image was a solipsist. Believer that you are God, that you are the Universe’s sole consciousness, that you are author and audience and they are all just characters who exist by your leave, your mercy, your “fatherly kindness”. I laugh at that phrase how I imagine the SS guards must have laughed at the new concentration camp inmates who somehow thought it was all a misunderstanding, or it was just a place specially selected for their “separate but equal” cultural development. Or how the serious devils laugh when they see the shock on the faces of the new arrivals. Who told them that this was a bit more mortal than inconsequential, that this was a bit more Sin than misdemeanor or even crime? Greatest comic pleasure is of course derived from the satirical mockery of the religious bigots and hypocrites who vision of Heaven and God was so narrow that by definition they absolutely had to end up here. Rumour has it, the management has been negotiating for a long time with the other management that they will release some of those saved souls on a temporary loan basis so that they — the great satirical writers who spiritually made the grade — can add their bit to the satirical torture of this special category of eternal internee.
See, I got distracted, went off at a tangent and all that is left of the house are just glowing embers. Scratch around there and see if you can find the solipsist. He must still be there, alive, unharmed, if he is true to his principles.
Perhaps not. Perhaps I am the solipsist. This I’m sure reads like a typical narcissistic revenge fantasy. And, of course it (note the syntax) did never happen. We left those old houses years ago — left the ghosts of memories there that they might be rich in Amityville possibilities. No one is dead, so you can put down the phone and tell the nice policewoman or man on the other end that you got a bit confused by the capacity to make category mistakes generated by postmodern literature.
They still live (maybe a bit like the alien infiltrators in that John Carpenter movie). Growing up with them there were certainly times when trapped and gaslit it seemed to me that they just had to be other than human. Can’t get rid of them. Nothing I can burn will do that for me.
Time to write.
Time to sleep.
Yep, sometimes I can get neither of those right.
Maybe if I dream there will be a burning house waiting for me.
Close the door when you leave.