Variations on Cloud, Text, Rain, Music: A Riff (3)

One split second of excruciating boredom between two mildly diverting texts is enough, said the rain.

One aims for a cloudy kind of sanity, another for the madness of rain. How to reconcile these in a single text? How to hear music?

The text of rain is indecipherable yet audible. The conversation of rain is indistinguishable from the music of rain.

The text of music apprehended as between a cry and a whistle. Between rain running down one’s face and as noise in the chest.

Weather is brewing the possibility of rain. We read its text forward like an apprehension of music and the meaning of music.

I am music, says rain. I am text, says music. I am rain says text. I am, I am, I am. Somebody somewhere is. So say text, music and rain.

I have not considered the question of mortality, says music. I am mortality. That’s what the text says. And look, it’s raining.

There is no text only the possibility of rain. There is always the possibility of rain.



This text is rain. This other text is cloud. This night is a potential language someone might actually speak, given some music.

Music is not exactly language. It is denser than that. Clouds and rain are text that might be produced by music, not that you could read it.

Always this shifting of terms, as if terms were clouds capable of producing rain. At least there is music and the text of night.

One pushes terms around as if they were clouds that might produce a readable text of rain. It’s dark and silent but for the music.

This music is a form of rain but denser. It is solid with text. There might be a cloud dictionary somewhere but it’s too dark to read now.

This is the universe talking to itself in a language of cloud through a text of rain. The night is dense with music one might almost read.

No, no, insists language. Neither this cloud, nor that rain. Possibly the music. Almost certainly the night. You ask too much of text.

The rest is not silence. Clouds are not silent while there remains the possibility of rain. While rain may be imagined. While there is text.

Variations on Cloud, Rain, Text, Music: A Riff 1

I am not an unreadable set of signs, said the cloud. I am a shifting text that occasionally produces rain.

I am very like a cloud, said the shifting text. Any rain produced is produced by you, dear reader. I presume it is rain you want to read.

Look, it is night, said the text. The clouds exist, you just have to learn to read them in the dark.

Cloud, text, rain. The metaphor of night. Precipitation as an image of unreadable meaning. Climate disintegrating into weather.

It is dark outside because it is night. The rain of the text is elsewhere, in another climate, among untranslatable clouds.

Not a single car in the proximate dark. The clouds are purely conjectural but where there are clouds there is the possibility of rain.

Think of rain as a highly punctuated text produced by cloud and translated into water. Billions of tiny raging ellipses.

It is impossible to translate clouds into a language of rain but I offer you this text to read clouds into. Translation is precipitation.

[no.2 to follow


When K woke up he found his eyes either side of his nose, his nose dead centre and his mouth under it. It was unsettling.
Someone must have been telling lies about K. The telephone rang. None of his telephones had ever done that.
When K went to bed he had two legs. When he woke in the morning he still had two. Bureaucracy had much to answer for.
The dog in the kennel suddenly barked like a dog. Why so like a dog, K wondered.
The clothes in his wardrobe fitted him perfectly. This is deeply disturbing, thought K. He counted his arms again.
When K looked in the mirror he found a face very like his own looking back at him. It gave him such a fright he quickly removed his head.
K’s voice rose from the back of his own throat. That was not where he had left it. It must have been hiding again.
K was a perfectly happy insect until one day he woke as a man so he put on his trousers and got on with life as best he could.
K’s office contained a desk at which he was obliged to work. But this was a desk with drawers and a typewriter. Something was wrong.
If this is Tuesday, it can’t be Monday, thought K. But then he thought better of it.

Holmes is Missing: The Case of the Ninth Carriage

It was the ninth carriage not the eighth. It was the ash not the cigar. It was the gentle dovetailing of salient facts that pleased him.

There was just enough time to catch the train. The rabbit in the distance was still visible. All was not lost.
Do this small favour for me, he said. Remain perfectly still. There are matters afoot that defy the intellect.That is not a biscuit.

Rain, steam and speed were of the essence. The man in the carriage had recently been to Belgium but that wouldn’t save him.
He was examining the curious lapel before him with a haunted expression on his face. My nemesis, he whispered. We must leave tonight.
The intersections meant nothing.The clue lay in the intersections between intersections. The clue lay under the clue. The rest was silence.
Note the name on the label, he said. Either that is a diacritic or I am a kangaroo. Do I look like a kangaroo? Does anyone?
The lady is undoubtedly in danger, he declared. The Portuguese are not to be trusted and we cannot waste our time on a mere fado.
The police were doing handstands in the hall again. Nothing surprises me any more, he said.
The Napoleon of Crime had met his Waterloo. There was much rejoicing in Euston. In Baker Street only the sound of a violin.
Give me your hand, Watson, he said. Now give me your foot. What have you got left? One must get into the mind of the criminal, he explained.
Don’t look now Watson, but there is a man in the doorway in the military uniform of a defunct army and it is too early for the postman.
The dust on that sleeve is all that is left of the Dead Sea Scrolls, he said. The criminal is likely to be one of the Desert Fathers.
How many fingers am I holding up, Watson, he asked. Have you ever asked yourself whose fingers they are?
I take drugs to clear my head, he said. It’s like colonic irrigation. Genius is a mental dump in the morning. It also helps when clubbing.
Some induce, some deduce. I am a deductionist by nature, he said. Give me a rusty Occam’s razor and I am happy. I bleed reason.
Apocryphal. How, in a carriage hidden by dense fog, wearing a veil over a balaclava, the master of a thousand disguises apprehended himself.
Apocryphal. How, one Christmas Eve, a man with a false beard and wearing a red cloak was apprehended in the study fireplace.
Apocryphal. How a certain sleuth strode across Grimpen Mire wearing a fake deerstalker in order to apprehend a fake deer.


Observation is the key, he said. I wake in the morning and observe myself in the mirror. I appear to be there. At least someone is.

Hercule Poirot is Missing!

Location: a street near an Art Deco hotel within sound of the sea

There was no one in the street. There was no one in the house. Where were they? Where was the car? What had happened to the plot?
The plot was beside the point. The point was to remain plotless. He opened a box left behind from the last plot. Nothing there.
An empty box was no clue. He checked his notebook. It was brand new. He took his pen and wrote a few random words that might mean something.
The street was indecipherable. That much was clear. But was it pointless to think so? That was what the words said. He wrote more words.
The mystery of the empty street was no less mysterious than the empty house. No car appeared though it was what the plot required.
He thought back to the time he had spent by the sea. There had been gulls and pebbles. Such things had a point and might add up to a plot.
The instruments had been well hidden. That is if they were instruments. He took a key from his pocket. All he needed now was a door.
The sea was at the door but the door was elsewhere. He wrote more words. He imagined a door. There was the smell of the sea to consider.
Somewhere in the attic lay the clue to the whereabouts of the house. Once he had located the house he was sure to find the sea.
Was there any point in having a key if there were no door? That remained to be discovered. Life is plotless, he decided. He must invent one.
You can’t invent everything. You could invent a sea and imagine a house with a door. You could open that door. You could smell the sea.
Whatever had happened had stopped happening. Something else was happening but what was it? What had the sea to do with it? Or the key?
This seemed to be the plot. It was as close to a plot as he could find. He wrote the plot down. He imagined the door. He turned the key.
The empty house and the empty street remained empty. The car must be elsewhere. The corpse would be in it, assuming there was a corpse.
There had to be a corpse. The plot demanded it. It was pointless without a corpse. He would have to invent one. But there was no car.
You could invent the car with the corpse in it. You could invent a sea at a door. You could open the door with the key. If it fitted.
You could invent moonlight. You could invent a lamp post. You could invent an alley, a corpse, and a car. You could invent a point.
The smell of the sea remained. That did not have to be invented. He wrote the words ‘the sea’ in his notebook. The sea was the point.
The point was the crime of which the corpse was the result. The corpse was in the car that remained to be invented. The sea was real enough.
The sea at least was real. It always had been. His notebook said so. The door must be nearby. He had the key. He was master of the situation



1 They met and bowed to each other while wondering whether they should have bowed at all.

2 Bowing was quaint. But a certain quaintness can be behovely and they were behovely people. Or, if not behovely, quaint.

3 Meanwhile, in the tower, a man with evil intentions was exercising his intentions. The tower was a symbol of evil and of exercise.

4 Meanwhile, in a side street, an angry man was in conversation with an angry woman. It was only a side street, not a major thoroughfare.

5 Meanwhile, in the parked car, a man was examining his conscience with all the care of a gentle child examining a spider.

6 Meanwhile, in a starving garret, a fat author was writing a fat volume in which he was defining garrets in terms of hunger.

7 Meanwhile, in a bedroom high above the city, she was putting her clothes back on having taken them off, as if by habit, to no purpose.

8 Meanwhile, in the hardware shop, a man was searching for a screwdriver of precisely the right proportions. In his hand he carried a screw.

9 Meanwhile, in the last chapter of the book, a small rodent was in a dangerous state of indecision concerning its next move.

10 Meanwhile, in the bar, two small men with colds were disputing the validity of a claim by a third that he was a disinherited baron.

11 Meanwhile, he was holding her hand with such infinite tenderness that he failed to notice that her hand had long been removed.

12 Meanwhile, their lips met. But it was only a dream. Then one of them woke up. Afterwards they could not agree who had dreamed the kiss.

13 Meanwhile, the explosion tore through the tunnel. Meanwhile, the cat leapt from the window. Meanwhile, other things happened.

14 Meanwhile, the story teller had taken a break, but they went on listening to the silence that told a different story.

15 Meanwhile, the war went on and the generals in the castle ran out of razor blades. War was being conducted by the unshaven dead.

16 Meanwhile, there was nothing to do but to admire the power cut or to start a relationship without power, completely in the dark.

17 Meanwhile, in the dark, a certain light was brewing. It might have been dawn but it was hard to tell at that stage of the story.

18 Meanwhile, cataclysm followed on disaster. It was the latest in a series of apocalypses. Seriously, it was gettting a little tedious.

19 Meanwhile, there was still courtesy. He produced a flower from his sleeve, she produced a scented handkerchief. The rest could go to the dogs.

20 And so they went on bowing though their backs were aching. That’s the trouble with courtesy, said one. It is infinite in scope.