They were tearing the backs off of toads. It starts with a tiny cut under the neck. And then a pry of the blade against a thumb.
It comes off fairly smooth, a tiny slab of forest green lumps and bumps — an exquisite splash of raw red flesh glistening against a silver moody sky.
Why are they doing this? To what avail? I look into the creature’s eyes, searching for something . . . anything. I find nothing.
A cursed stone face — unable to convey its agony. It mocks us, and renders us soulless.
Perhaps nothing I find, because nothing is what I seek?
“Give me that knife.”
It’s time I look beyond my own reflection in a set of glossy golden eyes. There’s got to be a ghost in here somewhere.
And I’m going to find it. I need to find it. ♨
Performing. The room was the old living room in the old house. 433/6266 West Creek Rd. Newark Valley NY that now sits like a museum of poverty. There in the strange discomfited space, I spoke while you waited in the wings(or where the windows to the backyard are. Gathered around the wood stove all the big armchairs and cacophony of seating made nowhere perfect to stand for visual center. I kept speaking, pacing from one point to another as though I was trying to hold the attention but the light of focus kept shifting. I was the intro, but I kept talking, kept offering caveats, kept going over the lines emphatically. It was going to be about Love and Eros. There were more parts. It was a constant attempt to get at the perfect resonance. I was speaking louder, even using poet voice. I was performing the words. I felt the feeling of it all being chairs going in opposite directions. No stage was set and I couldn’t get it to coalesce
We must use the alien technology. In the real quiet air of the salon you wanted to stay. The people were in place but filling the air with self un-poisoned by some erractic music. They were filled with a self-possession that stills people like jazz mutes the motion and they wore fedoras and stares; the whole thing of it you liked. We sat and had conversations while it rained. Alien food, filets, and pink almost creamed roe. A green cat stared, a tiny neonate on a lap peered over darkened wood. Tea brewed. The woman with silver embellishments and turquoise, darked eyes, went back to sleep in the hotel room for five days of sleep, happy song on her lips to be alone. I held cards in my hand and tried to say we must never say what we saw here. I was corrected. We must share the technology. IN an instant, almost a lump in my throat I saw why. It was a series of wooden rails heading skyward in a factory. There was a whirring and a flapping of tiny wooden flaps. I nailed in nails. It was so simple and yet it had a perfection I cannot name. I watched her leave to go sleep. Her beauty and self-suficiency were inside me like a memory. I stood shaking the blue skirt filled with cranberry paisley, and silver near a mirror above a small wooden table. I went out into the darkness and entered a convenience store somewhere at midnight on a hill where you could feel the earth larger than the buildings;a manna pool around it’s concrete shell. It was one of those places that is respite because it has human build to it in a place of large earth-dark forces, where wisps of heather, and moor grass even appearing as spirits in the halogen lights. Inside past the smoked bullet proof glass, the proprietess behind her small packs of wares, a larder of tiny pills, and impersonal cartons of condoms, or advil(either really). I turned and the tiny shack opened into the dim almost waxy, paraffin of music venue floors. Wooden equipment ramps, signage indicating the temporal atmosphere of an occasion. I saw pin up magnets and then I talked to the woman with red lips and her name was Susanna Lou or some other staged, two-part name. She invited me somewhere to perform.
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.
The main dancer deconstructed her costume for us. She had fluffy sea-foam green shoulder wings and a black and gold shimmery black cloth with odd clasping salamanders(like the knight of wands). They were mechanical and alive. Outside in the clearing, blue and gold belly dancers whirled for a moment. The storefronts in the street below seemed smaller and less important than the packed earth and the embankment that I prepared behind. Somehow I had forgotten my book of poems. Someone had a large book that had one of my poems. I also had a thumb flip book of poem like scribbles. I nervously read scraps from this aloud until I was handed the large book. It was written in dream script, clear until observed, then it wavered and was small; hard to read. It was full of onomonopeisms and I read them in a musical lilt. Then there was a fire to the left and downstairs. We left carefully with not urgency, but I did have a warm cake in a bag which I could feel as we left.
For the play there was a book and it was in someone elses’ hands. I was impatient. I could see my full three names written in it. There was highlighting. I tried to scan to see if there was a big part I had to do. I couldn’t even read the tiny writing or remember what the play was about. I went out and snatched some bits of garbage or kid’s toys off of the floor. It was time. The play was beginning. Out on the stage I got the dreaded feeling they were already talking to my character. I forgot everything. “Is there a big thing I am supposed to say?” I ask, thinking I can fudge the part about toast.
“Yes, sixteen!” You say walking away. “Doth ……” You are incomprehensible. I am awakened. &~~