On the coldest night of the year. A siren swirls, the darkness blanches it all out. You become aware of a sudden shift in circumstances – someone you once knew is no longer. The formality is driven to make your eyes cave into stones. And there I sit in my black suit and watch another body dreaming, counting each exhalation, wondering what the total sum will tell me. It is not hard to find oneself in total discomfort on an emotional level. I only wish there was something higher than all this looking forward as I look back. The speakers blast out a warning – you were always tapped into the raw transmission, the circuitry threatening to shred us. We smoked dope at the Cannibal Corpse concert, nodded at the stage and said this is the real art. The ashes are circumstances that defy our genial loathing. If only a sheep really led to sleep, we’d have something to work on – something real to defy. There are lands he wouldn’t go to, places made of plastic with syrup for oceans. I hate those places. What I’m talking about is a genuine shelter called home. That was the last place I saw you – a sunny day in autumn, rays bouncing off the Vltava. We were so eager to speak, from one side of town to another, I nearly forgot to step off, while you continued on to Anděl. There was no death in your face then. The way the tram goes down that hill, past the government. Here, a million stories get told each day. I could barely serve as a container for myself in those years, and yet I caught you rising. Days, I fear, when it was cold enough to snow. The monitors blasted forth the wilful supplication of the powers you had long run away from. Sometimes thought can be imagined. Sometimes those imaginings can be transformed into structures. Sometimes structures come in and interfere with our lives. And sometimes those structures rest dormant inside us, just waiting to erupt.
* 22.10.1972 – 13.12.2007
'Hail to the Chief', an installation by Jan Jakub Kotík
Travis Jeppesen is a novelist, poet and art critic. More details can be found here.