Dance Video #9: “The Eternal Reoccurrence of The Pogues at Christmas”
December 22, 2020
September 16th, On Manifestos by Max McNally
January 10, 2021

I Stood Facing the Sea by Harvey Barrett

I stood facing the sea, in one hand my manifesto, in the other a miniature boat that would ferry my words to unknown places. The salty wind clawed at the back of our throats, caressing everything it touched in the only way it knew how; with a course, gradual corrosion. I thought, if humans cannot long survive these treacherous seas, then what chance do the ordered scrawls of my chaotic mind have. My pages would fatefully succumb to the abyss, that was almost certain. Far from certain, was any conviction that the words of my manifesto belonged to me – maybe I had faked them, or perhaps they now conspired against my intentions.
But here I stood, the barrenness of the North Sea before me, on a foreign beachhead to which no one followed and that no friends knew. And here, alone, I heldfast to something that might overpower the insignificance and uncertainty that overpowered my senses. I suspected it was hope. Anticipation of emancipation, frothing forth from the endless sea? Alas no, for this would be a pagan hope. A redemptive ocean was akin to a barbarism our earth should have erased. Maybe our ancestors ascribed hope to the sea – tranquillity to its annihilating vastness – becalming fading thoughts into their absolute irrelevance. But alas, the sea is no mediator of vice. It is arbitrary violence, the murder of mortals in an immortal game of chance.
No. We cannot – or more correctly, should not – be faithful to waves. It is we that struggle in and against the rolling tide, returning to offer salt for those we love. It is our hands that build structures soft as sand, to weather the oceans attrition. Is it not our ancestors’ failures that still hum in the shells to which we press our ears? Our age, whose sandcastle is built on the granite of their words, breaks its bread on behalf of them. Do I not try to attain the verysame – for my message to wash upon this shore, plucked from eversame sands by tentative hands, brimming with drowned meanings: my words a promise for those to come. Is this not the hope – that my words, my manifesto, become as ancient as the ocean.
Oh, but what vanity in this hope! My trident likely slits open as many guts as it opens minds. What pride to think my genius purer than the legacies of Marx, Lenin & Mao, who now crash their waves upon craggy shores, the awkward accomplices of the abyss; the weather of violence. If my words befit the squid ink of blood, would my bloated hands not posthumously despise their toils and pray for paganism. Perhaps it is better that the mute script of modernity plunges mine own down to a desperate exhale, barely beyond the silence of stones crushed to sand.
Yet, here I stood, my tiny boat laden with the heaviness of politics.
It is to the sea and what lies beyond its emptiness that I release this manifesto.


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