Rigor Terra


By Hugh Fulham-McQuillan.

Now see the riverrunning through the city to the sea, just ahead of me. I cannot compete with its easy flow: the wind fights my every pedal. I remember watching a video of Dublin, circa 1970, on the internet. The city looks unusual at first and then you realise why, it is that bicycles outnumber cars. The early, middle, and latter aged of the population can be seen in various uniforms atop their bicycles, enchained between their two wheels without knowing it. The wind, though invisible, reveals itself by its cruel humour: a lifted hat landing before a bus, the flippant hem of an otherwise modest dress, a drooping coat tail about to catch in that office worker’s back spokes. Having no mass it defeats us before we can put on our armour, before we have slid inside our underarmour. Those same bicycles now rot in forgotten sheds, beneath towering mounds of household waste. They have been transformed. They are flaking rust, torn leather, burnt rubber.

While I look forward to living among the waves, I am also worried. I was never baptised. My parents have always failed to explain their reasoning, and I fear this for water is most abundant, and I fear what will happen on my arrival at the shore. Countless surfers have been spat out. The ones it has taken were rarely ready to go. ‘You see, that’s what the sea does, and you want to trust your life to the sea?’ I am borne by my inner currents, ceaselessly borne back. Now look at me. I have barely fashioned the vessel that will carry me away, these wheels are still wheels, these handle bars will not propel me through waves and storms that take place far from land. I am not yet ready for that rough mosaic of seagull cries and salt. Oh the sea! The sea is everything. Is that not where Edmundo Dante escaped to, where Lord Jim always escaped to, where I must escape to, away from the terror that is land, that is our prison? I spy seagulls now; it is near, I can almost smell it.


[This is a short extract, the full article is available to read in Issue Two]


<a href=”https://twitter.com/HughFMcQ”>Hugh Fulham-McQuillan</a> is studying for a doctorate in psychology in Trinity College Dublin, having completed his undergraduate and Master’s degree in same. His work has recently been published, or is forthcoming, in Ambit, The Honest Ulsterman, The Stinging Fly, and Colony, among others.

[Image: ‘Circular Tire Tracks on Highway 9′ by Chuck Rogers]