fish factory: mehron abdollmohammadi
1. Fish Factories
No one knew anyone who worked there.
Accidental heap of steel, cement and glass, an underwhelming sentinel at the heart of town. Grown larger in my mind with time, grown over with the quiet, throbbing vines of distance, nurtured and obscured by fog and memory.
The Arctic Star Fish Factory. At least, that’s what I’ve decided it was called.
An installation: mute, industrious, soft like clay, unviolent smothering like the cooling of the day. Architecture, barely, soft in something other than, a grey, drawn off across the edges of the place. (A home I never lived in.) Was never there, but yet, will never leave. You never know when this could happen – something, someone leaves in you the opposite of a seed, lacuna with the gravity of empty space, attractive as any vacuum, rolling stone in place. Messy orbit, suffocating fog.
I often passed the factory in adolescence. Twilight days. I turn my head toward them and the room is filled with smoke, beneath which teem the crowded underthings of open days and quiet cloistered nights. Summer dust, choke hot, the dusky womb of schoolyards, Gamecube in the basement, older brothers. Early days. Eventually it burned itself onto my memory, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it simply would not dissolve, crowding out nearby memories, or functioning as their gathering point. Precipice or nexus, the factory will lurch ahead from memories, uninvited.
Once or twice a day, and always at dusk, steel chute would belch up an indifferent stream of chum. The indifferent collage of guts and waste, the husks of processed fish, the indifferent byproduct. Runoff, the sunset of production.
Clumsy gaps in the architecture let in light from downtown: the granary, the Park and Ride, that dry expanse of pavement, open wound at the edge of the flooded fields that wrap around the memorial barn and yawn toward the veterinary hospital onto the lonely and exhausted stretch of highway astride the Les Schwab tire center.
I don’t remember any signs of life in that place. Except for the occasional man or woman cutting out a jagged silhouette against the grey or orange sky, or for the loose belch of the chum chute, there was never any indication that the factory was occupied. The wide and filthy windows facing out toward the Les Schwab on Old Pioneer offered nothing to indifferent observers. Residue had clouded off the innards of the place: diffuse, arcane interior. The yolky white of sweat stained tile, the same pale tarnish I would recognize in a sex arcade at 4 AM in Chelsea, ten years later. Echo without sound.
Enormous, underwhelming, hollow, it made the perfect vessel, filled and emptied of my fears and my desires, churning engine of my spirit. Vulnerable latticework, decaying, overgrown by my asphyxiating ivies. Blank and hulking architecture, palimpsest rubbed over and erased by my desperate young imagination.
2. UNTITLED (FOR E)
That summer late day in hottest August I had the most
dreadful certainty that you were dead that I had been and finally (inevitably) drawn to the position of your executor, little sister separator, curator of all the precious things / the gauzy undergrounds of you and you, inscrutable and miracle, the distant shore
whose / contours I had been so blessed to witness lurching from an ugly distance / many, many times /
the lighthouse failing on you, now would I be drawing you away by drawing nearer to you,
muffled summer heat alive with silence as I stood there, certain you were dead and still it didn’t feel so new
sometimes I know you have been dead to me in such a gentle way, like brush against the air or sound that
carries from another room adjacent to / the wall that never was a wall
fish factory: mehron abdollmohammadi