Performing Tethered with Rhona Warwick at The Driver’s Seat, Cubitt, London.
The Driver’s Seat, was a two-day programme of performance, screenings, talks and readings taking inspiration from women writers throughout history, celebrating friendship, collaboration, herstories and defiance. The Driver’s Seat was organised by Cubitt and Glasgow based curators, Panel.
Tethered by Rhona Warwick
I walk every day at the same time for around an hour.
Mostly I see dog walkers, joggers and mothers pushing prams
each, I’ve noticed are tethered to something;
a lead, a pram with a strap,
earphones, a backpack.
While walking I find myself thinking not of the exposed tree roots or the shifting skies
but of intimate interior spaces;
the pile of dishes in the sink
a table strewn with papers and apple cores and dinosaurs,
an L-shaped room.
My nosey little vice is peering into windows
often the basement flats of other peoples homes,
and wondering how they keep their orchids alive… imagining what it is to be in
that life framed in photographs
arranged on the polished baby grand.
I always thought walking was a liberation from domestic space—
of those great flâneurs who flitted between streets – being seen and seeing;
walking in a philosophical manner with the head tilted, just so.
Nature, Architecture, Urban design, The Human Condition, all crystallised in the faceless crowd.
But like those others on my walk I too, am tethered
by last nights greasy strands of spaghetti that lie waiting
limp and coiled in the sinkhole.
I almost never encounter another me
no solitary women without apparent purpose – to jog or shop or mother
I look for her, in the streets, parks, back-lanes and especially the renegade desire-lines
but I never see her
and wonder if I did.. would she see me too?
would I smile the way I oddly do
to dogs separated from their owners,
as we pass one and other by?
With each step, the shake-down takes me deeper to that quiet root inside
to think deeply about sinks and skulls and those greasy antennae
growing in abeyance back at home.
Sometimes, to ease the monotony of washing dishes
I think of sinks abandoned:—
piles of dusty plates with decaying debris,
from the cobwebbed Xanadu
or Calamity Jane’s neglected cabin
before her womans’ work was done
and somewhere in that arid space of frozen time
I locate a little joy
in the feel of my pink hands guddling in the hot sloppy suds
and in the purposeful sounds of rummaging, rinsing and draining.
Coiled and redundant I leave the spaghetti with those suds
and I go for a walk, to get away, be away
and disentangle from those strands.
I tilt my head, try to fall into a thinking step
and my mind returns to those great flâneurs
of Wordsworth, De Quincy and Benjamin
and wonder if ever they thought of the spaghetti stands in their sinks,
waiting back at home.