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This report is taken from PN Review 244, Volume 45 Number 2, November - December 2018.

from ‘The Notebooks’

from ‘The Notebooks’ of Arcangelo Riffis
Marius Kociejowski
Some months after Arcangelo died, I passed the house where he’d lived on Earls Court Road. It was my first time back there. A single sheet of metal was hammered over the front entrance, as if to say there could be no admission to this place other than via death’s portal. Somehow this struck me as appropriate – the blocked entrance, the stairs beyond it going not up anymore but down, down to Hades, so very Roman I could just about smell the burning frankincense. Why was he so iffy when I said Mother Church snorted pagan fumes? Why did everything Christian have to be year one? It’s a common error for humanity to think itself at the beginning of time. It makes for messy consequences. Anyway the building was up for sale, voided of its occupants, and I tried to picture the empty room at the back of the top floor where, from 1.00 to 3.30 precisely, we spent our Sunday afternoons, the purple flock wallpaper falling away in sagging folds, the smell of damp and cigarettes, the ceiling yellowed with decades of smoke and in places browned from rain leakages, the dust rising from the armchair each time I sat down a little too hard on it, the window which on blustery days shook in its rotting embrasure, the wasps that got in from somewhere and stung my friend who, close to immobile, could not escape them in time, and the rubbish that he’d allowed to accumulate because he saw value in it, if not for now ...

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