selina bonelli

A Tiding from Lynn Lu

This text is a response to The Impossibility of Return,Lynn Lu’s performance at TIDING (April 2022).

TIDING was a day of performance hosted by ]ps[ at two historic sites of worship in Folkestone and Romney Marsh. ]ps[ invited three writers - Madinah Farhannah Thompson, selina bonelli and Sara Sassanelli - to respond to the six works presented at TIDING.

︎︎︎ about TIDING

Lynn Lu photogrpahed by Manuel Vason.

held in crumpled newsprint,
i am led to an enclave at the side of the church overlooking the field - bright unfiltered light locks onto glittered greens, blissfully unaware of the phantasms that inhabit the broken cracks of these cherished objects.

(yet these are the fissures that open the space for you to come closer.)

The crack is a trace that haunts the fixed stares of absent ghosts: their spectres glow with crooked flattened halos, some dusted in gold, one dusted with brass.

(was this break too deep, too long, too much?)

Unable to be mended back to its original function, its brass tipped edges are not food-safe. The plate, irreconcilable, still glows through the crack - stronger for it despite restrictions - still a



(fools gold on the river bed shines papa’ - but as your memory fades I can only hope your ghost will meet the fissures and sulci that fracture your negation of my existence.)

“When utilitarian things become 100 years old, they take a geistan and start playing tricks on people” -Tsukomo-Gami Emaki ª

In the mid sixteenth century Japanese household phantoms began ‘stalking the streets’ and, according folklore, these Tsukumogami, or tools that have acquired a spirit, become self aware, a yōkai - an attractive calamity.
This idea that they acquire a spiritual nature when they become old and thus an agency to change, to haunt, to grieve and take up action against those who threw them away carelessly, also poses questions about the type of spirits that can emerge when, instead of violence, they have been held, mended and carried close to a persons’ heart.

Is the nature of the ghost released relational to the the way the object was treated?

Can they also become our lovers, that together through a collective dreaming of entwined bodies and uninhibited desiring reach beyond the boundaries of our imposed liminal norms?
Will we allow ourselves to be held by phantom limbs and pressed hollow chests?

was it a fall or a throw that hurt the most?
or, when you were laid to rest forgotten, invisible, of no use,
that the smallness of the dark cupboard engulfed your breath and voices whimpered like winded echoes through the phantasm you have become?

will the metal hold (y)our breaks the way we wish we could mend ourselves?

As these objects come to life, with healed gaps of a century of passing, with marks of use, need and feeling through actions and placements - where do their meanings accumulate and how does their haunting penetrate the layers of indifference and consumption that we are accustomed to?

In this stone church, where are the Ichiren-bozu (animated prayer beads) hiding?

Perhaps the Kyōrinrin (possessed scrolls) enshroud the book of stories that we were asked to write in, giving context to the objects we presented for mending.

Yet i wonder if the Menreiki, a spiritual creature formed out of 66 masks, is kneeling behind us as we sit in pews whose wood has seen more than a century of 九十九神 ninety nine kami .

the church is haunted by the story of death and resurrection. covered. in(your)side. at the grotto -

how deep do your fingers run, will (t)his side split from the digging into the wound for signs of life?

And then, to remend - as an act of re-ending, a re- imagining, leads to a peculiar type of haunting: the inability to go back - to un-block - to cross over into the loyalty of scars that pull at the wound with a tension unprecedented and unfamiliar to the elasticity it replaces.

the break scars my beard as it grows around it, never through,

honouring the hard white fibrin that glows in the clearing,

a scar is formed from complete healing.

Behind me, inside the church, i hear the thuds of a mallet carving out a surface tension of shards that peel back the processed. exposed. flattened. tree.
The knocks harden the blow and the wood cannot go back to the field where it channelled both sand and sky.

you peel onto the floor - and we are floored with you.

The inflexible scar that holds the emergent gap will be fixed through the brush and dust of the semi-precious metals chosen to replace the fragments lost in the break.

the longing to be seen for the sharp edges that remain, after the event,

after the disaster, after the pain,

is embedded into cells
that re-organise into layered fibrous tissue and defy their original elasticity :

strength gained at the cost of malleability.

An action, an active touch through a place of holding

is interrupted by

the cold breeze pushing open the door:
Ariel pushes past, travelling through shivers of current, shuffling between forgotten

statuettes of venerable final fantasies.
When does our feeling of safety depend on our ability to be distracted?

Will these broken edges scrape the tingling skin spanning the borders between sensation and pain? Can the scrape sense (y)our trepidation and fear?
Are these the phantasms/ghosts of objects held in our hands, between our knees and thighs, ones that caress our perineum - just before we tear?

Eyes open to receive headphones that offer instructions to mending through gold-dusting and polishing:

and yet this neo-violence is violet.

my eyes stare at the flickers of light behind my blindfolded lids.
fluorescent purple and magenta lines form retinal aliases:

an after image of short swirling vertical lines.

she brushes lavender branches in circular sweeps around my head: the smell of turbulence is anticlockwise,
my senses swish with waves of experiential unknowing.

keeping in the circles of histories,
of being,
the prosthetic violet-budded hand points towards that which was lost.

mother mary binds the breast to her chest as her sacred heart turns into the purple suffrage of passing

re-bound again

in a displaced pattern of longing
for what was before the moment of knowing when you were not whom I thought you were

sits in front


a flesh statue on wood that longs for wheels is heading towards the pews - and then, before the fall, jesus’ stiletto gets caught in the grating.

ª from Ghosts of 99-Year-Old Objects