Monday, 13 May 2013

Natural History

The sign as an instruction, and not just in a physical sense: go up to the next floor, and you will see the insects: this commonish mayfly, ephemera danica: notice the constant: the vacuum: the airless fly, and danceless.

In the next case: moths, melanised against the city: see how they disappear into the illness and health of a city: the dust of a city stacked in their pigments: dormant cancer.

Think of the museum as a failed hospital where patients are left pinned in death’s-head mask: toys in a macabre toyshop.

Open a row of identical drawers, one by one: a bee-eater, a brown rat, and, coffin-shaped, a barn owl on its back, preparing for dignity, eyes out.

Stoat in summer, stoat in winter: side-by-side: russet and white.

The shrew-box holds little slips of fur and skin aligned parallel, not topping-and-tailing: notice how small they look, and real: realer that when alive, and warm, and wild.

Step out of the lift: remember, for some reason, your grandfather having TB: remember that the last time you came hear you had a cold: spat bloody brownish phlegm into the sink: ask yourself if people can even get TB these days: notice how someone has taken a red marker and drawn a deathly trickle on the off-white fur below the stuffed badger’s angry mouth.

The same person, maybe, who took a tooth from the crocodile: for luck.