Sally Jane Norman on Sat, 17 Apr 1999 10:46:45 +0100

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Syndicate: on the cards

" You’re nothing but a pack of cards " .

Alice to the cross Red Queen. To the Cross Red Cross Queen.

Stack the cards. Cards on the table. Load the dice. Poker. Dominos. Monopoly. Go. Games of terrain.

Mesdames et messieurs, les jeux sont faits.

Pack of cards. Identity cards. Roving paper tigers and paperless errants. Got you mapped. Put a spell on you. Season of the witch.

And the Cheshire cat, up in the tree, keeps smiling. That toothpaste ad 8pm news smile. The cat that refuses to come down on the ground just sits up there like a furtive lurker and smiles. Cat’s cradle rock a bye baby vroom vroom. Comes and goes. Say cheese for the camera. Cheshire cheese. Flags in the tree. Like an international cheese board at some food fair. Stake out the territory.

Prickly little hedgehogs are placed at all the strategic points of the croquet cheese board terrain. They demarcate the territory, those little gizmos with their spikes. If the pink flamingos touch them, they explode. They’ll be there for a long time. Alice wasn’t enjoying the game anyway. The players move/ are moved, the Cross Red Cross Queen and the Duchess are yelling contradictory orders at them : to and fro, left and right, round and round, back and forth. The Cheshire cat smiles its virtuous smile of official observer up the flag tree. The hedgehog mines move, to scramble any rules that anyone thought might exist, and the players scramble to avoid the prickly spikes. For good measure. Aesthetics of organisation. Dynamics of (dis)(re)placement.

"Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, never jam today" says the Cross Red Cross Queen.

"Not fair", says Alice, à la recherche du temps perdu.

"Jam fair" says the Cross Red Cross Queen.

Bal-kan jam. Blood honey, as Iliyana told us?  


"Kiss me" orders the soldier. "No" replies the maiden. Kiss of death and the maiden.


"Protect me", cries the lost child. "Your innocence is your protection", swears the soldier.

Lost child, lost father, lost mother, lost sisters, lost brothers, lost home = lost innocence.



You’re (we're) nothing but a pack of cards.

You’re (we're) nothing but a list of people.

A list of WHAT?


Kia Ora

Sally Jane Norman

Paris - Porirua