by Alan Fielden
If I was small enough I would live in your heart. I would find a way.
It would be warm and there would be rhythm. After a day of work in some department of your brain I would sit amongst the thrumming red walls and feel at home. A day of crunching numbers, of sketching futures, of sorting images of objects I nearly recognise. I wouldn’t understand my work but I’d do it anyway, and when I came home to your heart I’d feel on solid ground. At night I’d sleep curled up in red. I’d use a dimmer switch that makes the place feel like I’m sleeping in a sunset. I’d get used to not listening to music, music sounding fickle compared to your heartbeat and breath. I soon forget there was ever anything else.
On Saturdays I lead a choir of red blood cells and we reverberate loudly down your aorta. On Sundays I pad around your ventricles 360 degrees to keep fit. I get a faint memory of a sci-fi film but I no longer know what one of those is. One day you get ill and it feels like I’m sleeping inside a cave. Your blood is cold and full of tension. Not vast like before. Tiny malevolent candy floss becomes a hazard. Work becomes slow. The screens are now blue. The newspapers are now blue.
It gets harder to deal with the vagueness of my job and sometimes I give up and produce the strangest work I can think of. I used to go on holidays around your blood stream but now your pulse is beat, an echo of its former self. You used to be a rollercoaster to live in and maybe you’re still like one but made of damp fireworks now.
I write a letter, cork it in a bottle and kiss it goodbye. I try to put into this letter exactly who I am in that moment, which is scary and exposing, but since becoming solitary I now have the impossible handwriting of a 4 year old and that’s relieving.
At work the screens don’t come on any more and the newspaper only arrives every few days. I read there’s been a revolt in the fornix area and I gather this is a bad thing because the newspaper is all spelt funny and there are neurons spilling everywhere. I take a bite out of a purple neuron and remember how to make you laugh and where Coventry is. I think you’ve started drinking a lot as the air is harder.
I pack my bags and make for the center of your brain. I walk past cathedrals of electricity exploding into mist, I see thin lightning careen in bipolar arcs, I hear a horrible howling like forgetting how to breathe and I wonder just how big your brain is. I find others like me, blown to bits but conscious. They’ve escaped from the parietal lobe which they say is in a state of apartheid. They say the whole section has been suicide bombed, there’s nothing left. They’re hungry for water so we share my wine. I dream that night of spurting from a wrist in a jet of blood onto a canvas, I wake up wanting to know what image we made but I’m quickly diverted – my new friends won’t stop speaking; facts, figures and memories in a rushing constant. It must be hard for them to not have their own mouths. Things like,
“If a wild elephant is chasing you, know that they are faster than humans”
“Yes it’s true, Eskimo’s have fridges to keep things warm”
Ancient hand drawn birds circle us as we sip from a bitter lake of ions. I catch errant neurons in my fist and remember how to spell the word ‘renaissance’ and what comes after 3. Everything shakes all through the barely breaking night. Spiders with tiny solar systems in their eyes have started feeding on the words of my friends and I spend my time dwindling. I remember the good old days when I had a job and a warm bed in your heart. I remember sleeping in the sunset. I remember how your heart beat all round felt like the voice of God and I start to sob. My friends hold me close and say
“Corduroy is, in essence, a ridged form of velvet.”
Sometimes lightning strikes and illuminates the landscape, a cavern of black pity, edgeless, with grand stalagmites of thought and precision, now dormant and greasy. Booms of thunder sound like low sobbing slowed down a million BC. One day I forget my name so I start going by “Judo” which is a kind of martial art. I gather my friends and attempt to form a plan. We sit together and someone mentions a mountain in a book called Lord of The Rings so we march toward the nearest stalagmite.
I think to myself
I am what made you ill
oh what a monster!
and I collapse in the greasy mud. My friends bend down and say
“Woe, woe, woe etc”
“It is best to stand still and raise your arms”
“Ray Charles was a true pioneer”
I pinch myself and remember what you look like and why I came here in the first place. We go on toward the peak.
Tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, you break open with a crack and a light. God is dead and the sky recoils in clean light. Like a starship or a mountain or a whole other dimension I see the enormously thin blade of the scalpel as if pulled in from the light. Amidst the oxygen and electronic bells I’m exactly where I want to be.
Alan Fielden is a writer, director, and performer, born in Seoul and living in London. He is part of JAMS and ROOM. In 2017 he was a finalist for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. His work has been described by adults as “Ingenious” (The Independent), “[possessing] a richness of thought” (Exeunt), and “[what] one might expect from an angsty teen” (Time Out).