Laces and Eyelets
by Ciaran Carson
"He is wearing an old pair of glasses with a wire bent around the car and fastened to the frame with tape..." (Louis Simpson, The Middleaged Man)
"...He is reading a novel by Morley CalIaghan. Whenever I wake he is still there... with his glasses. I wish he would get them fixed, I cannnot sleep as long as there is wire running from his eye to his car." (Louis Simpson, Ibid.)
Thirty-nine bullet-holes have not quite obliterated the face of the cut-out, target-practice terrorist. It's the only face you'll see.
To the right, an iron door with a wire-grilled window rivetted into it. To the left, a pair of circular brass-framed analogue pressure-guages, bathometers or altimeters, turn out to be thermometers. The scale reads from -20' or -30' to 120' or 50', depending on F or C. Wires lead in and out of them. At the moment of the photograph, the needles show 66' F. These instruments of measurement are Made in England.
In the centre foreground, a rusted, beat-up, two-bar fire with its wire grille dented and bent. A detritus of ash below the elements. Five double electric sockets, some of them unoccupied, are visible. Many wires for such a small room, or this corner of it.
Chains, switches, Velcro, studs, buckles, Scotch tape, flex, safety catches, zips, dog-leads, rivets, stitching, hooks, eyes, straps, clips, tags, hitches, cufflinks, latches, bolts, hinges, whipcords, lanyards, thongs, toggles, harness, belts, halters.
A nine-eyelet black boot, bound tightly and precisely at the seventh eyelet with the slack of the lace wound three times round the ankle in a butterfly bow, and the tongue protruding to kiss the cuff of the trouser-leg. In both instances they rest on scuffed, sky-blue lino tiles with white clouds scumbled or distressed in them.
It appears to be the dashboard of a police Land Rover. Switches, air-vents. The flexible, spiral-bound armature of the microphone turns out, on closer inspection, to have a naked torch-bulb socketed into its head. HEATER OFF WASH & WIPE When I looked at it first, I read it as WASH & WIRE. Then I took my glasses off.
The seemingly-disembodied hand is attached by a ligature or tourniquet to the wrist, by a clip to the cuff of the shirt. It rests on the pleats, the folds, the furrows, the drapes of a prosthetic trouser-leg.