A small lookout basement flat in London. In all this — quiet like ache — a basement flat looking out on all of this. Cold in the winter, damp in the summer. Looking out (noise, steel, work) on bigger buildings, on taller ones, wider ones, ones with more floor space, windows, sunlight from underground, inside rock and soil, clay and rock — including granite, limestone, marble, slate but probably not, probably just granite and not much of that, mainly soil — cohesive and granular, yes, probably, only clay — a small sample moulded and allowed to dry in the air, then broken, and a fragment pressed between thumb and forefinger. Thumb and finger pressing. Taller, no not taller, thinner, thinner so he looks taller. A small amount of soil mixed with water to a very soft consistency in the palm of a hand. The back of the hand tapped gently. If the soil is silty, water rises quickly to its surface and it gives a shiny glistening appearance. If the soil pat is then deformed by squeezing and, too, by stretching, the water flows back into it and leaves the surface with a dull appearance. Usually, the greater the proportion of clay in the sample, the slower the reaction to the test. The speed of the reaction is placed in the following categories: Rapid, Slow, None. Hephaestus limps past and the Gods laugh. Silk wouldn’t say so. No one kind will but they laugh at the limping and the dragging, from the chairs he builds them, as he makes his long, long way around the room. Drink. A smallest lookout basement flat, looking out on tall slim buildings, craning but still not reflecting the top of the tallest ones in the tiny lookout windows which climb out of clay and water. Kaolinite, montmorillonite-smectite, illite. At certain moisture contents, a soil which contains a significant proportion of clay can be deformed and remoulded in the hand without disintegration. When a moist soil sample can be manipulated the soil will approach a non-plastic state, and begin to crumble. Just before this point is reached, a highly plastic clay can be rolled into a long thread which has sufficient strength to withstand its own weight. The thread toughness is classified Weak and Friable, Medium or Tough.
The coarser particles fall out and the finest particles remain in suspension the longest. Sand settles in 30 to 60 seconds. Material of silt settles in 15 to 60 minutes. Clayey silt, 15 minutes to several hours, Sandy Clay 30 seconds to several hours. Silty clay. Clay could take days. Silt is smooth in hands, rough on teeth. Tall buildings, stone bridges, a tunnel to France but still the basement flat. Structurally, for houses, the basement walls typically form the foundation. Water, tries to run through it, the way it used to before. Water flows around it. Dug out. Dug and dug and dug. Through clay and rock, mostly clay, some silt, chalky on your teeth, smooth in your fingers, but chalky, gritty, filing on your teeth, wearing them down as you think, Silt? Clay then — and a little silt and dug out, dug and dug and dug, and the water. Woosh. Trickle. Filling it up — the hole. The water. Filling the hole up and up and up. Then concrete. Concrete laid and then laid in floor, walls which fail in several ways, they overturn, slide forward, overload the ground which supports them, or break but they don’t Pp W tan Φ> 3Pa.
The whole time, the whole time, after it has been fixed and finished, that whole time, the water pushing it over and then pushing under it, push push, like it can float it away, away somewhere, wherever the water wanted to go, there, that’s where it would float them. Them still in bed sleeping, fucking, feeling the water, water themselves. The moon. Water. Like they lived underwater. Like they lived underwater. Like they did. Under the water table. He felt it any way. She might not have but he did here — now maybe. He could afford a better place, could have looked in the paper, rung a few numbers, she looked in the paper, he whispers at her, ‘I like this place.’ Maybe he doesn’t like this place, this underwater place. It was his to not like so she could just shut up, if it wasn’t good enough for her than maybe he wasn’t good enough for her, and other stupid things — whispered, mouth full of food and mumbled after her as she walked out of doors. She could just shut up. There were 20 centimetres of windows on one wall. They let in light during the mid morning then none after that. They could see people’s feet walking by, taller, better buildings. He could afford a better place but he didn’t like her not liking it. There she is now, not liking it. Not liking it at all and there’s him, telling her he likes it. Loudly, like he would be better off drinking loud. Like he’s a prick. Agitating her, wanting to shake her, angry, uncomfortable, not sleeping, never sleeping — eating. Not drinking and eating and lots and lost, out of touch, not founded in anything — half here and half there. If someone had told him, like the sun, and he had found her he would have bound her. Built chains so fine, like spider’s chains but mechanical, robotic, link and link moving like muscle, she wouldn’t have seen them and she would have crawled into bed tired and been held and holding her he would have called her friends and family over to see her, and when one of them said, This is ridiculous, let her go, chain me instead, he would say, Not that again, I’m not falling for that again — and think to himself, Maybe I will chain you and her. If I am suddenly another man, maybe I will chain you and her, and everyone. No, he kept her chained and sent them home and fed her and brought her things to amuse her and eventually she said, I’ll stay, so he unchained her so she went, back to her friends, back to her family and he is left with chains broken, bed filthy and the things he made to amuse her at his feet and walking around him in mechanical ways. Small dogs, yap, yap and flip. Larger dolls, eyes blinking and television.