I went up the black steps that were well lit. People waited for me as I banged through the safetygates with the key. I opened up the roof, but it was trashed. It was night. I lay down with my head on the edge. There was a blanket. I began to talk to the person next to me.
The night was long and filled with troupes of makeuped women. I strode into a cool neon lit bar. It was long and tables filled with laughter was a scent of energy thick and deep with currents. Any one person strolling in would have had to tear a hole into the vibe in order to break it’s lush cocaine undertow. The frolicking rocked their toothy bodies. A woman with electric blue braces smiled wide as the waxing cheshire moon. Her lips were glistening candy red. I came to attack someone. I came in with violence in the heart. It was only milky arms and smiles braced and eyelashes made of feather and black liner beaded with luminescent paint. Everyone was from pandora.
I didn’t stay there. Where I went was filled with tiny animals.
The next day you and I walked in a strange town. We found a rock with a historical leap. They told of how the huge gap over the water was usually crossed by a rope swing more than seven times a day. Although it was a long way down into the water, I took the leap with the rope in hand, swinging, even kicking off against the water. I made it to the other side. You followed me. And I saw you come across. &~~
I wake juggling shapes that threaten to crush me should I slip up. In a pool of cold sweat. Submerged beneath. Dank blanket. Swallowing me.
“Leave me be! Sleep — come for me again! I beg you….”
Wandering the concrete alley. True to form, I walk upright — not like last time without feet. Fuck! Another dead end. I turn around from where I came, but there is a wall touching my nose. It has been following me. I turn around again — life beginning, a field of blue grass and moaning trees, distant mountains, and weeping clouds. A yellow & red zebra watches me and its tongue falls from its mouth. And where the tongue lands the ground cracks opens, and with it a chill overtakes my body. Shaking. Shaking. I peer into the gleaming white abyss, and my right eye unhinges itself from my skull and I am watching it fall and I am watching white falling. But my feet are firm on the blue grass. Dizzy.
I wake juggling those damn colossal shapes again. Cold, sweating, frenzied and frantic.
“Stop this you fiendish thieves of rest! I can not hold these terrible shapes! They are too big, too many sides. Too many disjointed sides! Leave me be! Sleep! Come for me again!”
The wall extends to only my arm’s length and I continue the pattern with the tiles. I’ve been doing this for centuries. On this same rickety ladder. On this same damn wall. I hate these tiles. I hate this wall. The mortar smells like death, and it weeps from the space my eye once occupied. My arm aches, my rusty spade has been worn to a nub. I hate this wall. I hate these damn tiles! Why the fuck am I doing this?
What’s that!? Inside the pattern. Inside the tiles!
No! Not what. Who!? Who is that!
She holds me in a tender gaze. She is old, her face looks like a raisin in the murky reflection of the tile. She speaks with a foreign tongue I do not know — my anger melts and I lay my hands back to their tedious, gross work. The infinite pattern is almost complete — and when it is, I will know rest like no other has known. And the red moon that tooters up from the West will relinquish its motion and steady itself so I may catch it in my net.
They kept her tucked into a box for many years — actually it was more like a drawer. I walked by this gray steel drawer many times; it was in a school, high up, a good reach above my head. One day I heard wrestling around, the scrapping of metal — that’s when I first discovered her. She had forgotten how to speak. A few days later, I freed her in secret. Though the drawer was small, she unfolded herself into a fully grown woman. She was unsurprisingly daunt and covered in sores. Her fingers long, brittle, and unbending; her eyes hungry, narrow, and still.
I was teaching a class on mythology at the time and soon came across an ancient myth about a boxed girl and her detainers. As I was teaching about the myth a few of the people in attendance began to get up and leave the room. They were obviously uncomfortable with the subject. I knew I was striking a nerve, so I kept going. A homely woman with curly brown hair turned angry, she knew of the girl in the box drawer and knew that she had recently gone missing. Now she was blaming me for releasing her. I took her blame with satisfaction, hastily ended the lesson, and cursed her in front of the others. They all began to accuse her of evil. Not soon after the taunting began, her conscious broke and she began grieving in shame — explaining that she, and others, loved the girl . . . that they wanted her forever, and that now they would all be lost without her and their lives would hold no meaning.
We gave her no sympathy. We watched her cry. We tucked her into that small steel box. We walked away.
Years later our hearts began to heal and grow . . . for we truly love that box girl . . . and will never let her go. ♨
I’m wondering through dark, narrow streets. A woman I love is tending a bookstand. It is an odd promotion for a newly released book—brightly lit stands are everywhere. The book’s name is constantly changing. We see each, but she ignores me. I’m distressed about this and don’t know what to do. I’m on a terrance and an acquaintance offers me a few drags off a joint. I take them hoping the alternative perspective will help me understand why the woman is so angry and hurt. It doesn’t help, I only realize more fully that the situation is out of my control, but I can’t let it go. I’m racing in a car to the university we both attend. I awaken in a lingering state of strife and sadness, feeling that my love will not be seen or felt. ♨
We are now living in post-apocalyptic cities where nothing grows and all industrial progress has ceased. The sun never shines here, it is always dark. There are no animals left, we have eaten them all — there are only trees, decrepit buildings, and us. Without animals we no longer have a reference that we can point to and claim the vague animator we call “instinct” exists; nor do we have operational machines to tear into the land. Without these we no longer feel dominion over anything; and even the most Earth loving among us are weak and angry.
The boys are marching off to war. There is a black clothed team and a white clothed team. I’m with the black. This war is a senseless game, neither side has a goal; but people will die, many people will die. While marching into the silent and empty forest I desert my company and build a raft out of old animal bones and twigs. I float down a tame stream and arrive at a place where I am stuck inside a photographic book that is similar to a high school year book. There is always one photo that is animated and talking. The type of dialogue taking place is like that of an evening news show conducting an interview. I am asked what I think the biggest problem we now face is. The page turns and my photograph is animated — in it I am a teenager, I have long hair and I’m wearing a red KGB shirt with a hammer & sickle decal on it. I proclaim proudly (in the way only a teenager can) that it is because we have abandoned ourselves, and that I have never abandoned anything. But my adult self who is wittnessing my talking teenage photograph knows this is not true — I have just abandoned my army.
Beethoven’s 5th symphony begins blasting into the world. I can hear it perfectly, it is precise. The book closes and the trees uproot. The world is receiving its final apocalyptic blows. I am not worried, instead I am marveled by how my dreaming mind is capable of reproducing this complicated music — and I wake up with it still ringing in my ears. ♨