A prose poem.
by Dani Arbid
An image of doubt. The first image I heard. Nobody witnessed the image and it passed without notice. He remembered, I was the one at the desks taking notes at the time. To notate the trajectory of a single thought. He went down to the water. He left his number, told him he should call. What do you think happened? He watched them paddle right in. Under his nose. They were prepared. I was greeted by a host with no name. The manners of the room are different. Like all rooms, rules vary. He asked me, did I play a part? I tried. I was relieved to be inside. The gate behind him, he felt tightened from the world, and he was. He was further than he had been only a moment ago. Were he any further he might have thought himself dead. But he was not dead, and will not die in this narrative. Those expecting profound difference in life and death are not equipped for the room. The gate was only just closed. And what sort of room locks from both sides? The truth is, I wasn’t supposed to say that last line. I was supposed to continue with the gate being closed and his outliving us. But when I’m faced with the truth I tend to relieve it. That should tell you something. I play equal dice. I don’t bribe my enemies. I destroy them. Because he had unquestionable taste, he smoked the dying embers of a boondock stash and kept walking. Where was he going? Those who enter the room from a fixed door do so without caution. The passage may be safe. It may also be harassed. That is to say, the mystery is not in knowing. Those who refuse the antics of the keepers endanger themselves. But it was a good sign that the feeling he had of tightness was gone. He could not be absolutely sure. It was not an immediate revelation, but when he found himself shaking the host’s hands he realized he was taking his first steps into a new world. An explorer, drifting toward the abyss. The sacrifices we make hold the evening ransom. Trust me, the friends we make tonight outlive us. And he had great manners. Dressed as any greeting might, his words lifted from his face, unfolding sporadically to my beleaguered eyes. I wasn’t scared but it felt serious. And to think, a stranger happening on narrative will outlive us all. I don’t know how to live with it. The exterior speaks nothing of the inside. I couldn’t hear anything. I thought we were going backwards. It never occurred to him to turn around, and when he did, he realized he could not turn. I couldn’t move but in a straight line. I wasn’t ready. In the beginning, most visitors cannot comprehend the expulsion of time. It is not in their mandate. But very soon into the experience time’s essence dissolves into an essential archetype of anarchic rule. The structural rebuilding that follows is very much the building block of cognitive experience. Experiential time. From this very audience stems the unbridled loyalty visitors express to their oppressor. To these settlers, they carry the names brought with them. So it is not always invoked as the port of ports, though one can assume it to be what one wishes. I move into a room. I’m writing a book for you. We’ve been to four ports so far. He piled us into a book. I can leave the manuscript in the closet. I can go where I belong. I changed everything. I changed nothing. There were a lot of things that weighed on him. The embellishment of home. The mystery of death. It was a very nostalgic piece to begin with. A representation of his entirety, if it could be collected, and maintaining a certain quality, illuminated. He heard the symphony as it was finally played, hearing an ensemble of voices for the very first time. I would disregard, for a firm reading of BARA, the implication it is not entirely and without exception a rendering of the seventh century dwarf of his upbringing. An elegy to his mother’s tongue. I had to search very closely. I was in natural conflict. Who called out to you? You would imagine, the voice of a woman to be his first. Maybe it was. He may have encountered many. He may have encountered none. In truth, his shyness should be forgiven. It is always disconcerting for a newcomer, seeing the totality of an image detach from the inscrutable whole and immerse itself in his presence. Swimming the capillaries of an explorer’s distance, he could see. But he was not cured. Promises had to be made, and he asked for them. Safe passage into the vortex. Unconditional lifting of the siege! It would not be given. At the mercy of an oppressor, bloodthirsty. Where could he go, if far? There was bound within every journey a woman and a home. But all journeys convey their borders. The room that throws the trophy in the air because if it were really only those two they would be easily aligned into one. But a room is an endless image. An image is an endless room. I’ve watched closely myself grow over the years. I’ve seen my being change. Rooms that act like buttons. Buttons that act like brooms. I was in conflict, thinking of the port to reach into my throat and tear out my solar plexus, tie it to my mouth and silence me. Is it still there? Would he be surprised? Nothing spectacular happened. I was in love. I was a child. I saw the mystics rise and the harvests fall. I felt a moon grow full. You can say I’m still in love. The idea is that he began the journey sometime during an autumn shower. It was written somewhere in the numbers. He lived his life, but finding himself there years later he realized he had gone full circle. The spawn of an immaculate sunset would raise the charity of his name. It never happened. He met her first, spending the following years moving steadily towards her. How long could that be? She put him in her care. You never went back. Why didn’t you? He left. Of course he did not realize he had begun the cycle until he came full circle, finding in his being there the juice of premonition. A circle follows a certain lead, and a lead a certain spell, and so it was that he was found there, but where were they, if they were just involved. It was one night, then another. The shading under her eyes, naked in the bathroom, under a settled moon. A sign of things changing. The crooked out skirt of a tooth. She occupies her body. There are others, left in the dark, spurned from his vision. When I look at you, I see her face.
The merging of two spirits.
Disquiet, in his soul.
He could not hold his gaze from the muse’s arms. Even the conduct of a mystic truth, dressing their women with giant garbs, so as to hide them from sight for fear of spiritual complexion, could not dispel his eyes. Not even the faintest glance at his own impression, gave him the idea he would later regret that he was responsible for his movements, and not because of them, resulting in life. He transcribed a few images, moving forward. I stand by the wayside in a tomb of swans. He remembers the neighbor’s tragedy, little flutes migrating upstream, hanging laundry by a thread. Do you think he’s here? He watches us.
He turns to look overboard.
I sit on a bench and read.
He could sense, beyond the perception of reasonable doubt, the outlines of a keeper, realizing he could never claim sight under his total control. Living under the expense of an apparatus. He could not differentiate, no matter how cavalier he tried, between the keepers of his presence and the limits of his mind. But what were they really guarding? To answer the gestures of a trespasser? To establish a criminal price? As important as it is to know that the story waivers between psychotic dreamlike states, it is equally important to note, continuously throughout the reading, without moment’s doubt, that the space under investigation, from where our eyes are driven by thought and gesticulation, is guarded by a keeper.
He sits on a bench to read.
The book is empty.
I am told, the book is disappearing, but the book is in my hands and in yours, so we are really determining that nothing disappears except by our own volition, and our volition is just. The custodian’s ensemble will reconcile our existence. I have no way to tell you but to persist, you are the keeper of these gates. Your breath strikes me. I call the message I sought all along. The road lies empty in renewal. How long will I be here? Until everything falls! No, don’t say it. They wait for his announcement. It is my loyalty they want.
He turns around.
The numbers are losing. Unrivaled desperation. I could be bold but act otherwise. I could have been reborn. Finite pleasure impedes the soul. With age he will waste. I have lived my life in waste.
I walk past him.
He doesn’t move, focused on the contents of his mind. I know this because I know his eyes, and I have loved him. The most vile place to be for too long. Crosslegged, on a mass of public stone. The first time he walked in the dark, he had been meditating. He thought he had been, but naturally he wasn’t. The unique element is the timing. He had to conceive his words. finding them in the room. Walking very slowly, patiently, making his way, he touched things, feeling his way with his fingers, stretching into the air for clues. And I resist the comparison so often made, of him having tentacles, it wasn’t like that. It had to be fun, and manageable. How much he intended to discover, it was all in his hands. Every item, pronounced and insignificant, visible and yet impaired.
He closes the door.
I spent my life in a dancing shoe.
The room can be anything.
I am nothing.
He watches the knobs turn to the side. Here, I can be safe and hide. It was then, his story not yet known to him, he imagined himself a murderer. Charging the citadel with his horns. Do you hear them? Ship’s horn, announcing. Some power caused him to write. I am unable to affirm anything. The predicament changes, and yet it remains exactly as it were, when we first acknowledged it. The very idea, that he had abandoned the vanity of youth for the soul to prevail. He heard the humming of ship’s horn, announcing. Parables, descending from the skies. Beside me are the vanguards of my calamity. Resistance is our destiny. Do I feel gratitude? I should have been given more. An elemental wind asleep. He remained biased to believe at the end of the road lay home. City of bores. Objects of string are elastic, he thought, what I need is elasticity.
A canvas draped below his eyes.
I am already a dead man but my greys are alive. The result of my anarchy is destitution. She knows I am a prince alone! Calling to the abandoned image of servants marching without their escorts, he wondered, what pious legs! Reeking with the scourge of piety. How many doors are there?
The road cut sharply.
He plunged beyond the precipice. Her image flashed its sulking snakebite. He recounted the infinite turns not taken escaping devour’s end.
I am responsible for his imprisonment.
I put the papers down.
He moved here by his own free will. It confused him to see things clearly, in visible light, so he remained fixed in a position of intent, waiting to hear voices of another kind. A posture that is meant to promise the outstanding efficiency known to a master. As an apprentice, how many rooms had he designed? The brightest in the academy. Fair trade. Dangers rest in the heart. He moved to the port of ports in the summer of his dreams as a means of staying alive. And how lively she has been! His mind, sailing the mutinous alphabet of his watch. The sort of man to code a prophecy for the mere joy of enjoying it. Where do the bluebirds flee their poachers? He sought love, validation. Lost, picked from the litter of a wasted generation. Spoiled! Succumbing to the powers of the room. I remember sitting there feeling completely alone. I was surprised. Hours passed without sense. He wasn’t sure, but he ascertained from the wind chimes by the window that it was no longer dark. The full moon rising. He thought, the reason I have returned is gone from me. He wondered, is it where it had begun?
Moved by the facts.
I quarreled the melancholic shrine for you. And for you I have nothing. Wondering even then if he had even met. But there was something in it for me, wasn’t there? Something we both wanted left behind. Some power caused him to write. I left the grounds of our tragedy, followed you, to the festival of life.
Everything I fear is in that house. That country. That room. And you? What do you drink these days? The medicine. It shows. He quiets the beast, figuratively speaking. He told me, I have pages of prediction, and pages for regret. The speed of light grows. Catastrophe is inevitable. Ensured! He holds the medicine in his hands, dull to the lies of others.
The hall is lifeless.
A nymph holds her position. I touch her. Are you wounded? In the thighs. She bore sleepless eyes. Morning wood, blooms. The door crumbs into his hands. Where are you from? The ancient cultures! He urged to return to where he had begun, knowing it would be safer there. And yet, he had never considered writing. He was proficient, it seemed. He could apply technique with style. But, incidentally, he had always felt the task would be more daunting to his humble capacities. Sailing with navigation the knowledge that sinking is inevitable. Writing. Form without practice. He enlisted too much of his own personal baggage for it not to offend, delve slightly into mismanagement. Names completely vanished. All writing prevails that delves into the touch of bone. The joys of an occupation! He wondered, how much further does he go? I could go anywhere, but home. The scene moves steadily towards the mountains. We pack our things and leave. He feared the very element of writing, responsible for his freedom. By the very act of involving language, speech, motion, the result remains permanent. What could be said of permanence? He lunges after her becoming figure. He tires, she relents. Disappearing into the void. He remembers, I was lifted momentarily off the ground, until I saw her face. When they return their footing, the square evolves.
The alignment of her back.
Watering holes, for musing.
Annunciations of cool.
I shower through a checkpoint, with pride.
His eyelids drape over the canvas. Horse necks worn around the heels. He lunges after her becoming figure.
When the movie started to sounding trumpets, the chorus filled the entire room. Fireworks. Token dreams. At daybreak the crowds gather. A natural name for any chapter. Resistance is our destiny. We climb into a booth. How many are you? The smell of the old town after hours. Parched skin. A hurry of insects sprawl along the floor. City lights, concrete. Is that a pamphlet in your hand? It was, he felt, his only discerning view of the constitution.
He struggles for air.
The paintings were not thought to compose a single subject. He had changed. He had seen the original pages before they were written, but since then. He holds the manuscript in his hands. I am a cold trinket. I am a wet glow. Scarecrow’s palm, abusing. He holds an earlobe. The settlements make me cringe. He wrote me, I was tasked to unleash an ordinate of violence on the general public, indiscriminately. You lack empathy. I lack superstition! Besides, the resistance is harmless. He climbs another jewel, primed from the apothecary’s primal stash. In hindsight, he was mistaken, bearing a choice he would soon regret. The walk veering into an unknown road. He wanted to leave a trace, to watch his name painted over the column screens. He remembered, home is a godless slumber. Triumph pollutes the victory pool. I’m thinking of making a home here. Strange. He wrote me, I had to think about what that meant. He searched the confines of an impression. Walls blank with indifference. The air after a flood. What does one make of possibility? He had learned to shovel through the words, tearing at the meat with his flesh. How they refuse! Dip burns on the upper lip. Brewed broth chewed gently. The archetype of an image inscribed in his breathing, he demanded her. Come to me. I rehearse your footsteps in the chains. He visited home, instructing the elders to note down their stories, so they would not be made tools for history. Suffering, at the whims of an unbearable voice, musical possibility, he had come home. He toasts the air with hintertips. Tuned to the nostalgic stage, he says nothing, distracted by his whirling. How many charms can we pack into a broomstick? He watches the stages drift. Enough to free the pack. I push open the screen floor. Over the hills the clerics refuse our poetry. To wash themselves clean of our toils. He searches for his knees, to beg. Quiet in his cave, and humble. I felt like an older brother, but I was a mutant son. Ruthless, charming where teeth won’t cut. The world is changing, my friends. The enemy will fall.
So soon only met, so soon only poisoned.
He speaks at his own pace, littered in the ingestion of consumable goods. Cannon fodder, for want of change. Pamphlets are difficult to dispense. I tell the others, trembling in their rooms, note down your wounds, we’ll rinse them in the sea, after we cleanse her. But his hands tired, occupied by the latest moon. He turns towards the inside of his chalice, drifting further away from the house. I miss the song of our little mouse, feeding at dawn. Have you ever been in love? She sings the gentlest song. The same was true of the story. The painters were all mystics, and they fled. We drowned the poets in their sleep. Doesn’t it tire you, the rat race? Packing lives into one glass case.
We revere the moon.
He stays a while longer, counting through his breaths. The statue overlooks him, rooted in the ground.
Wet evening premonition.
The texture of a scar.
He never touches the numbers. I hear the screen door close. The saddest place in the world. Here, look inside the cabinet. Someone closes the door. The kind prophets are drunk. I hear his voice. He hears the image. He does not belong where he is, speaking like the witness to a terrible crime. A crime that marks his sight. When he walks, pushing through the alleys of our quarter, he mumbles like the blind. A long time ago we set out to create something. Imagine, the frontier. Keeping the native secret. I trapeze downstream for you, building barricades before the house is burned. Fatally romantic. Ascetically dressed. There could be nothing like the absent cheers of a populace to hollow his mood. A natural melancholic. It was so dark outside. I have no courage in my heart. Is that really why you’re here? For the muse? Famed poets painted her with an emphatic leap, dancing. His response? He cried, begging her to appear naturally of his disposition to wander.
Je suis un doux vide!
Un lepreux, tendre a coeur.
He summons a servant with his lips, to hold his piece in place. He preferred walking to sleeping in a showered room. I hold up a pamphlet, noting the emptiness. The keepers retain the pages. He turns from his forgotten conscripts, left wilting on the altar floor. Fooled, I expected to feed the hungry from my poems. Someone lowers a window, taking their strides towards him. Do you recognize where I am? I turn my head to address him but he is gone. Am I supposed to know? You have been ill some time.
Two identical reels.
She addressed him, seated in the corner on her rocking chair. Sharing an accumulation of riches. The world is falling apart. Everything in my name is gone. It seemed that way, the feeling he had, considering he had seen it all before. The photograph was taken before I was born. I have nowhere else to go. I walk this time because I have to. An outtake from the original print finds its way into his hands. I tell them it could be of use. They empty my pockets and laugh. Why am I ashamed? The horse you put your bets on. The light of origin. A corner of the earth she has not touched. I lock the rehearsal room door. He thinks he’s dying. Biting, at my estimation of you. He wrote, a figure intercepted me in the corridor. We were unacquainted but I bowed. He waited for the figure to pass but it refused. He bows again, locking the door from both sides. Tell me, the moment he turned the proverbial key, hearing the lock unfold. Poised to stand alone in both worlds. I lock because I am able to, and it empowers me. Like bathing our vacant child, or stringing hot peppers up to dry. Prayer rouses the spirits. We induce liberation.
I stand alone in the world.
The keepers tend to my vision. Studying the movement of an oncoming barge, he remains transfixed in his place. He chose to leave, walking until told otherwise by some feelings to be somewhere else. Light sleep, formed tidy above the waves. That would do it. He sways with the pace of the water.
Ship of kings!
He wondered, the natives do not own their weapons. Do they borrow them? The sound suits the room. Seagulls trailing the ruptured mess. I have never since been so lucky. He felt sworn to secrecy, to espionage. It was unlike him, but it worked, he was watched, his movements trailed with determined eyes. Everything he wrote was in one box.
Everything I love is gone.
Still, I suffer.
When he arrived at the scene, she had the look of sobriety to her. She looked back up at him. He thought, she refuses me, at my own home. His gaze left wondering. It would be easier than that. That thing which keeps the artist awake, when her cities drift to nightly diversion. I wear the sleeve of the marauding tribe, still confined without our borders, esteeming what lives from what blunders the soul. She appeared at the height of his gloom. A sorry pleasure for anyone to have. He endured. He even relented, vying to posses the genius. Turning his gaze, he dodged the visions of an intruder, rusting his palms against the walls, protruding from their stems, calloused symbols of a phallic past. Outside, the situation is difficult. Injured, he recounted, how for long years he tempted superstition and the elements never budged. He resented her, for turning against him in her youth.
I have lost all of my possession.
Bored, I hear- putsch!
He turned the alley corner, with guile enough to alert his followers. I am suppressed! Approaching the corridor of her hill. An image, hosing the rioters storming the streets. They did it for you. I run. Your weight will overwhelm you. He craned his neck, reeled in from the skyline as a sign of respect. I turn from the effeminate corner, lunge my bristles over the ridge. She had everything he had written carried to the site. Meeting, after so long.
I have so little pride to lose.
I hold no reserve.
He fell victim to trust. Obedience. At the onset, though he had no way of knowing at the time, he promised to tell the truth of his condition. The raging siren of a neighbor’s traumatic fall, he believed deeply in the movement. Rooting the soul in the conjecture of his plan, he wanted to disarm the power structure of his captivity. But first, to be captured! Imagining a soul. That is where poverty is forbidden.
Where the mystic’s camel drinks from the palace fountain!
Are you alright? You are at the onset of life. I choose to believe I am beginning something. Two adjacent curves. He stomped his feet to announce his arrival, pending the dispersal of an insect shroud. How far can he blow? I hear them moaning. The sound grows. More of them. A chain railing, stepping up to its armored face. He realized, he was staring at the projected entirety of the complex. A landmark to his penitent eyes. He had heard of human figures chained onto the extensions of circular chains, whose faces run deep into the armored wall, vague from his sight. Long, metallic tubes run along the side of each figure, and every so often, at indiscriminate pace, singular tubes detach from the system, pulling away from the wall, forcing the tube inside the anus of a captive figure. He saw at last, the ears he had encountered in the brief demand of an interlude, whereby his thinking paused, he embraced them. He watched, as a tube propelled outwards, carrying a fistful of feces spooned into a bowl. Ecstasy. Horror.
I have seen everything.
I am nothing.
He managed, finally, to hear the strings. Captive women, stitched onto the railing of a hoisted bar. Legs, held over the neck, he noted, the clitoris is removed to relieve sensation. To retire the effect of pleasure, ripped into a bundle thread, stitched into four dainty strings, hollowed at the ends with ember’s foam. Each of the captives, held onto the pole stretching the continuity of the canvas, licking the flint with his tongue. There, at the first becoming sight, his regaining posture, a eunuch strums in perfect fifths, membranes turned into violins. Had he imagined it? The violins continued playing. He carries on.
Read with the intent of a snail.
To move hastily is to ignore the fate of movement inherent to the work. The pages turn with the election of a leader. To perfume the experience, paint every page into a picture. Turning to the outcome of another generation. He began the story in pursuit. Things happen to change.
A story lived twice never ends the same.
Patience bites into a winter cabin.
I am not in that city.
She thought he had been sleeping. His eyes had been closed. It was late. He had only just returned. An aesthetic outburst missing from his life. He sought love. He thought they might rule together. Govern the impasse of death. It was, as of yet, not true. Some choose to wait, he dove. If anything, to set his eyes on her in the shower. Drying. I sat in the room and watched. Having nothing of his own to give, it will be said of him, he was less dangerous. Where the plenty make their living. Where they survive! He had lay outside her house, blossoming in a pool of verse. As the days passed, he questioned his motives, momentarily, before carrying on in full spirit. Standing below her window until he was stormed away. He could not claw his way through but he wanted to. I call it winter’s frost. Have you never seen the port of ports? I’ve sniffed her glue.
The story is in the soil.
The hunchback listens.
The caged bird sings.
I am an endless thing.
I wanted to paint a portrait for you but I can’t paint. To capture the aesthetic mutiny of our time together. He told me, I am certain now it didn’t exist. At least, not in the way we remember. I still visit your doorstep, hoping.
The paintings move steadily into the past.
He was barred entry into the room, and on that account he was upset. Walking parallel hills. Eating what is caught. The shadows we shed were our countrymen. Driving up the bay at the spider’s horn. He took the last photos of a reel. It hasn’t been very long. He assaulted the projection, immersed in nostalgic fever.
The faces you see are real.
Half of my accomplishments are gifts, the rest of it is yours. To treat what is most dangerous to have and comfortable to lose. I ran our ship haggard, for a kiss. Read between the lines. He wished the images would flicker much like they used to in his mind, handed a dose of imagery pertaining to the muses. Racing down the main hour’s boulevard, previous encounters with her. He could smell his own breath. It felt like home.
I dreamt of the acrobat.
Did I share that with you?
Maybe I should, but in truth, in letting you loose from my grip, I find myself relieved. I belong within the veil. The others are watching. He is a louse. Get off! You hunt buffalo in snow. I catch whale with my pinky. The flash of a photographer’s camera startled him. His face grim, he felt in that moment swaying between the protagonist and antagonist of his own life’s film. He could not tell in that moment whether the crowd of strangers taking no interest in him had inconspicuously formed an audience. His thinking what he did instigated a great sequence of suspicion. He felt incontrovertibly alone. I have seduced fate to bargain existence, he thought, and in so doing have bargained my fate.
The show ends here.
Mouthful of encounters with the occult. The pairing enables peace. You bang at my head with encumbered steel! I am injustice. He sat beneath her looking pane. I fall some steps, bashing my head against the brick. I slept there that night. We kissed, and I, recently awoken to the discovery you thought me more than an animal, took a nap on the floor. Energy, passed between us. I felt like him. Now, when we touch, I am unsure how to smell you, and that is all I want. In remembering this later, you will claim to have witnessed the institution of his envy ripen at the sight. Faint walks under the Bosporus. Family rites in spring. The gymnast who trains in verse never falls onstage. Like, a ball refusing bounces on the ground. He feels, for an instant, a sound despair. He hangs in the city square.
Do you know what BARA is?
Mourners did not visit the body. Only the smell of stationary guards. The memory of his life, flashing at speed his final days. I dreamt of the acrobat. He hangs languidly in the air. Urging a declaration of triumph, his body holds still against the weight of northern winds and festival processions. The stranger inspects his body. No sign of struggle, he leaves. The crowds conceal their guilt in celebration, buoyed by the passing of another martyr. A republic set in stone. Freed idol emblems between harbors of a peninsula. Storming the room, they found him lying on the floor, naked but a wreath. How long has he been here? I wasn’t impressed.
The maternal melody of the womb.
Drifitng toward the peninsula. He turns his head, stops. Where is she? See anything today? He stops again. What I always see. He looks in my direction, fearing that I am invisible. Do you hear them? A cloud of trumpets easing onto shore. Sometime at night, a few notes played triumphantly. Hope, the vestibule I take lightly. Did I forget them? I turn around. Where is she? He isn’t listening. The last glare of morning compound onto the pavement. I sit toside a trash. Seaside, without the lights. Go with the sun, she told me. I knew she wouldn’t come. Today we had bad weather. The drones applaud his sense. He adjusts his glasses, creasing against his nose. Is that time you have there? We passed the horns, peeking in through the bay. They’re singing, now. Crossing the abyss. Where there is time. The lights were out, and as he was opposed to staying in one place, he laughed wildly, composing his answers to the inevitable question. Aren’t you hearing them? A herd of jets, coming through. Midday. Regal to the point of despair. Envy cares for the wolves. We’re here, aren’t we? Tell me something.
He swam into the mud.
Circling his arms around an outpost, tiled so as to hold a line of mudhouses together. To his right, vocal impressions of an ancient tongue. Speakers outlayed the remains of rental room cries cast over his shoulder. He pulled a rag over his head. We’re almost at the water. He handed him his shoes. He hands him the pages. Do you hustle? I am the poet. Do you know where a timeshift is? Peace devolves where they go. The daughter of a sought iron man approached him. Are these pages ever read? He counted drifters over the bridge. Is it alright if I smoke here? I sit on the bench and read.
The book is empty.
Silence sits to his right. Furred neck brace, coming spring. He weaves through the disquiet. Elders clothed in basements. He occupies the nearest chair. He told me, I owe society everything, most importantly, the memory of freshly baked bread, and the ability to pronounce the name of my oppressor. It’s something we’re going to have to solve. Two painters resolve the discourse when the youngest of them leaves.
Merchants flap their jewels onto a woven carpet.
Aged hooves break sunlight’s chance aggression.
There is an actor alone onstage.
Standing at the feet of his tribe, his trace uncovered, his talons having blown their horns, he removed his shoes and knelt to pray.
I left my village with nothing.
He arrived entranced, convulsing, swiping a sharpened stone at his forehead. The spring that rises will be held on time. The spring that is yet to arrive! But he grew too confident, disappearing to wear his horns in the city square, crying the length of his whip. Is there more to the giant room? We lost everything to the lion. Initiating a sequence of hallucination, drawing flour on flat ground, he painted the deception of his progeny. I dreamt of the lonely Saracens. Do you know if BARA is? For a taste of triumph, I leave.
Hearing that song, of the bottom.
Naming the journey.
He had no right to reveal his verdict, claiming that there is no story without reluctant pain, having only the wisdom of lived thought and expression. I experienced very little in the walls. I am a louse cushion. A lightswitch. Is this thing on? I am not virtue. I am not stone. He had a tender heart. Heart’s muffin! He wanted to make use of the canvas.
A story I better let tell itself.
He walks into a room. Marble flooring, disguised with wood. Woolen blankets curled against the wall. No windows but the one. An impressive ensemble of screens. He had requested her to be there, visiting the greeting stage. To revise the sages! I’m having visions again. Do they hurt? He slept in that morning. The full moon passed. I warned her, going back to that sort of thing never does the body good. The organism suffers. She insisted. A story lived twice never ends the same. The phantom rises at the beginning. Do you want to see the lake? I just woke up. So you should be rested. She should not have taken that tone with him, his first night on the pills. He felt soundwaves in the air graze him. He felt the music in his veins. Touching them, he resisted. They are too beautiful to corrupt.
I rinse the temple floors.
We copulate under the mystic’s gaze.
He was beginning to understand how many layers could be composed without jeopardizing the integrity of the whole. He had ignored most of them until now, having decided at the outset of his mission to withhold sensitive subjects from the manuscript. To apply a blanket of censorship over the entire piece.
The whistles rise over the hills.
Overboard, starry magic.
I showed you the mystic’s garden.
He painted me with cloves.
Not knowing where they were headed, migrating aimlessly into the expanse. Most visitors are injured when they leave, as most of the displaced are depleted when they arrive, citing difficulties in assimilation. Where did you come from? The beginning. The settlements are growing. I watched them demolish the roof from the height of the tower, around where we used to go for walks. I had my camera around my neck. The settlers were everywhere, and they were armed. One of them took you by the arm. Who put the wall there? Seven pits of the port of ports. He dove from pigeon’s hurdle. He told me, I used to watch him coming down the quarter with a guitar in his hand, but he couldn’t play. Something had been missing from the picture. They cut my strings from a mystic’s beard. Everything I have is yours. The hawk soared into his sight, to remind him of the coming moon. A night that would be theirs. Do you believe in the otherlife? I wanted you to find me. He was dragged from the altar stage. The crowd, too stoned to focus. An indifferent reception, nowadays. The audience is dead. A eunuch, ordained by wolves.
The age of primordial impulse is upon us.
Will you die for me?
It was spoken in the numbers that he would raise a tribe between two rivers. He loved the idea, knowing that in his devotion he could confide in genius. Take me to the basement. Is it safe there? Nymphs propagate in the wasteland. A tasteless cock on her chin. You are the polite giant. I nourish the barren sands. He chose footsteps over the rain. He had everything packed, ready to go. He boarded up the room, turning it into a fortress. Is it still dark out? Sometimes I wonder when it all started. If you’re going to leave, then leave. She closes the door behind her. He heard voices that were not hers. Hermaphrodite. Everyone laughs. Agents of the settlements. Creatures, prolonged into his sight. I leap into the air, kick my heels. A solitary walk across the cemetery grounds. Changes, everywhere. He calmed himself beside a stump at the crescent bottom of a hill. A flight of swallows flung over the cliff, diving like trained architects of the trapeze. They performed with such grace, he had the image pigmented onto mosaic tablets that he strung onto the wall. I remember now. We were walking through the courtyard. I thought the noise came from inside. It felt like nothing was changing. People making arrangements for their families. Arranging threats. Camping, near the crater. A movement shaping inside the square. Nothing changed. He was scrambling his way through the complex. Slouching his arms, a friend walked into the room carrying a glass of water for them to share. It made sense. He disappeared behind a line of curtains, drawn earlier that morning. He was quiet, quieter than he had been. Someone expected to respond with passion, he resigned, drifting off into the void. Older works stand off to the side, agonizing at the scene. It happened under their eyes. It could have been them. But it wasn’t, and actually, would not have been. He walked closer to them, listening in as they prayed in unison, partly to be sold the information he required, but also, to convince himself he had not made a grave mistake in returning, by land or by sea, to the sanctuary of his home. The closer he came the louder they spoke, like they wanted him to hear what they were saying. He didn’t want to be noticed but he was, he looked obvious. A stranger, passing. Someone of another matrix. Not of their blood. He resolved to continue walking, and passed, away from their sight.
I’ve seen these bones before.
He searched for a sign of struggle. As a precaution, he wore gloves. What everyone wants is for me to acknowledge something terrible has happened. Tragedy impels their lips. Superstition feeds the lonely. He has nothing left to say.
When he arrived at the scene it was nothing like he expected. He was one of those who always expected the situation to be less severe than it first seemed. But, often, when he expected something to occur it did not in his way of expecting. And, he was not always certain of his opinion, which way he would lean when asked. So he had in his practice to accommodate a wavering conscience to appear at the scene without further complication. Every scene poses its own set of challenges. It was to be expected. This had been no different. There are the scenes for which he is too accustomed, and then there are the scenes for which he is not prepared. Of the scenes he is too accustomed, he is often repulsed. Of the scenes he is not prepared, he is indifferent. And now, he felt himself forcing upon a yawn. Did the others notice? He had let one slip in public before, it was not the first time. But this time the room fell silent. Hearing acute in the morgue. All eyes on him. By nature, a man is afforded fallibility. But he had to hold his nerve. Someone taps him on the shoulder. He turns around, his face characteristically dazed. There is an ear in his hand, mutilated. He stares at it. He wants to inspect the ear, and he should, but really he wants to take a bite, see what it tastes like. He wants to know if he can taste the passing. The ear smells, the dry wind lifting sense’s lid. Are you curious? He sighs. A temptress stands acute in the hall, pertaining to her prey. There are those who seek life’s excesses, and those who seek rebirth. He was beginning to entertain the idea of throwing up, once and for all, of reacting, but he couldn’t, he had no means to feel. It was like nothing happened. He found the same crowd, moving forward, without notice to their surroundings, carrying the charred remains of an anthem. They must have walked the entire space, arms interlocked. How long has it been? I’ve seen these bones before. Something must have come over him. He snapped his fingers repeatedly, to no effect. What was he hoping for? He begrudged his figure to move and it did. He thought he was moving towards them but he wasn’t, he was walking away. Sidesteps, like a crab caught within rapture. He stepped through the ends of a noose. It disappeared. What am I surveying? He watched carefully. Cutting the body, they had no choice but to quarter the beast. A daunting task, even for a professional. He had to be cut open by the hands. Horses would charge away from each corner. A needle strung into the penis, inserted through the foreskin. At the horse’s charge the foreskin would be torn. The body then quartered with three impressive blows. In the end, the dismembered figure would be nailed onto the chamber railing, fisted with intermittent pumps. He stepped away, curious. The head, void of serious injury. It had been torn rather fast. Incisions on the back, arms laced with superficial bruising, but that was it. He felt an amnesiac relief come over him. He searched around him for a sign of mercy. Home is a funeral call away, he thought. He felt the universe exerting her indifference. He had to endure the vision, endure the shame. Was he guilty? He understood the cosmic imbalance raging between them. Ignorance is a gift. He would never accept a monument built in his name. The regret of a population felt the same. He could even see, in the distance, a choreographed brawl claiming more of his time. Exiles in uproar. A day of rage. I am the coward. It could not be true of an exile to flee his own spectacle, where am I going? He could no longer see the crowd.
He settled on a bench for some time.
The boulevard run down. Houses reconstructed to position the dead. A state of omniscient despair. What does that feel like? I regret everything. I fear nothing. It was trouble from the start. The room is full of myths and some of them refuse to intersect. They have to be rescued. Many visitors suffer. As a reward, a sage sprinkles wisdom in their ears, pleasuring their wings. The result can be exhilarating, humiliating to those opposed to the practice. Everyone fled, those left behind diseased. A man without fear is dangerous. Mutiny, ripe. Was he laughing? His cheeks were creasing, sure. His lips, burnt. His hair, thin, like it was wilting off his head. He had several boils below the eyes. He looked sad, and old. He looked morbid. He wanted to remain calm but it was too difficult, he could sense everything on the cusp. A spell set on the public. The savory taste of violence procured. Picking at remains with a sharpened axe. He had no time to contemplate the aggression. The place is a nihilistic wormhole. Home. He felt defeated.
He found a quiet basin, a place to wash his feet.
He removed his shoes very quietly. He removes his socks. I am a whore. How many protestors died? He felt his insides churn. He felt betrayed. It came to him by surprise. He must have been walking. It has the force of an idea that comes to mind when the body is in motion. When the body opens her wings. It must have floated off the tongue, dripping through his teeth like come. It doesn’t hold to the ground. When you say the word out loud it flutters in the air and disappears. It flies away. Do you remember it? The next day, nobody was there. It was written on the walls. You know so much about it now. More than he ever did. It has a ring to it, still.
I swim, in a vacuum of possibility.
I shower, in a pantheon of love.
I create an inventory of darkness. Names and places. Pigmented titles, colored with history. He remembered thirst but not hunger. He wanted to be a sage of vibrations. I want you to understand where they are. To employ light to conform their shapes. They have to be imagined.
Landmarks destroyed are built again.
He formed an executive authority. A vote of confidence, to end the occupation. I am in a constant state of humiliation. Three children on a road suffer a stroke of genius. Preceded by the black. Isolation bequeaths a slave. Failure tempts the weak. He was proud, at least, to have proven he could dream in colors. He sat alone for a while, listening to the words being spoken from a monitor not so far away. Part of the sacred is holding onto that feeling and languishing in its grip. I cherish the flame of possibility. Freedom is priceless. Few of us will see the summit. I see inconsequence. I waited for the sacred to blush her cheeks but she never showed. I waited like a bear. I am a tomb of bears. Do you know how long it is to wait when the muses are not listening?
The fervor culls.
He needed a glass of water. It would never come, not by his hands. He needed elements never there. An end to the misery, he hoped. But nothing. He understood, his meals were all disguised, and his enemies were everywhere, loathsome creatures of the lowest order. They sent vultures into his room, to pick at his sleeping body. But he could not let sentiment get in the way. It would leave him vulnerable, and in the off chance he had restored confidence he had to retain it, rioting under many names.
Most of us outlive the weak.
Resistance is our opus!
Why did we turn back? The siege had been lifted. He could see forwards, making his entrance with ambiguity. I dreamt the hawk swooped in to visit. He closed his eyes for brief meditation. You know the sort of room he is in. Some things shouldn’t be described. The first image he saw was of her standing at the window, overlooking the tower, and he was watching her, thinking that he was close by. But the image did not last long. It disappeared and he was forced to move, a solemn evacuation. He rode into a sunken jungle, outside the constructs of his mind. Both ends of the room were filled with binoculars so he could see from either side. I saw you at the window. You had on your mother’s robe. Do you miss her? He twitches his eyes. The piper rings his bell. The song turned at that moment, and the clouds he was seeing no longer formed. He was awashed with amazement, and could finally tell from the strange light of his imagination that the full moon had finally passed. He felt calm, retrievable from the abyss. A refreshing night outside the city. The highway bend below your parent’s shrine. I am a stone’s throw away from the promised land. Why do men build domes? Did he achieve his words? He believed them, but the guards maintained the image of the room.
An imprint of cinematic material.
He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a cut photograph, briefly damaged at the seams. The figure on the photograph is a fruit seller. He wears a fedora, sings his lips open, his hands gently pushing his selling cart. A merchant of his past, and the beginning. Who are they? To his side is a woman. He calls her by her name, singing a morning tribute. It is his daydream. It is his light. In the distance, students approach the merchant for the purpose of a pamphlet, hidden in his baskets. From this very picture, he admires the use of pamphlets, to circulate a coming trend, a normative model of the future. He notes it all down, choosing to remember when it came. The eyes of his character are turned towards the camera. His companion holds her eyes at his shoulder. A moment he remembers because of its significance at the time. He believes the photograph to possess unfathomable magic. In its properties it is alive, and chemical. In its death it withers, surviving by figments whose erosion is not complete. He watches the photographs suffering over time, watching the properties of the image digress toward something else. A connoisseur possesses the photograph that withers with eloquence. While it is reserved for photographs of a spiritual measure, he can also grow entertained.
I dreamt the lion was in our bedroom.
He covets the memory, meditating on its role. Can you imagine it? He has the nerve to entrench his podium but he’s never stepped foot into my room. Nobody seemed to care. I felt no sense of alarm. The apathy will destroy us. Next time I will address him I will find his station.
He pulls another photograph from the stash.
Smeared on the edges, peeled on the borders. A deserted zone, a thin railway for freight, abandoned. There is a dimension of mystery to the area because it is surrounded by the obvious service of quarantine, supervised by arms. From the image, it is unclear what exactly the photograph depicts, as the area doesn’t seem to house anything in particular. But it is rumored to house everything. The most relevant rumor is what attracted the photographer at the time. A fragile canvas, black and white, high degree of contrast. The mystery stipulates two things to be known. First, that inside the given area we have the advent of color, but viewed from outside, the world appears in black and white. But this is less cited than the second portion of the mystery, that inside the area exists a room, and anyone who enters the room is granted a single wish.
He studies his surroundings.
Is he there? The only image he was told about was the one he prepared himself, and it came at the beginning. He should have known where he had come but he didn’t, it was not known to him and it could not be ascertained. But he also realized, and this took him by surprise, that he had not questioned his whereabouts in some time. Had he accepted the ignorance? It didn’t seem to bother him. He seemed relaxed, and content. His only discomfort, the result of rising humidity containing the room. He was ready. There had been lots of commotion in the rooms. He would not be spared. But to belong, one had to merge the look of belonging with the expectation of fear. Stepping into a painting. A stranger, and no one else. Did he know the right verse? Those who belong are never spoken to. They are obsessed, and it shows. But he needed to be inside. Still, he felt tired, and worn out, a pressure oscillating in his head. He was only a few steps from the door, not very far. A stranger approached him but quickly disappeared, recognizing the virgin with his eyes. He felt faint. It was dark. Running the length of the walls, scattered candles gave way to some light, but he was far from the sides. His knees jolted. He felt weak. He could feel himself shaking. Had there been music? It was never said. The music is in the veins. It is felt to those who hear. He wondered if he could be seen, if his steps could be heard. He had been told, the faces he would see would only be real insofar as he maintained that reality would persist beyond the experience of the room. But he had prepared for an unraveling of existential norms. He had prepared to witness the rebirth of his living model. To reconstruct the essential light. He had seen several faces but they might only have been his own. He felt himself crawling a long plane of concrete, cold and barren in his hands. Finally, he was alone. Where nobody else has been, where it is touched by immutable darkness. He had spent his entire life, however long that lasted, wishing he could be alone, given his own space, embed his freedom. He dreamed away his youth with images of an emancipated class, whose contract with the social world expires. He thought of himself as a giant, nesting in a cave, found out by an intruder, every morning he awoke to the air of another voice. And voices he found familiar, they were the worst. He had been captured. Handed over to the reigns of a resistance long forgotten, who had lost interest in their captive upon capturing him, recognizing in his voice a mysticism they could not bear to hear.
The incendiary, charred by filth’s greed.
A dogma that rules the unfortunate.
The keepers are a wasted tribe.
Observed closely, it is immediately revealed, the captive creature does not stand the pleasure of escape, or the illusion. When, by one’s own volition, having entered the room blind, the images that construct are intended to serve, and he could not be found innocent, he was guilty in his charge. It had been his doing. But he was afraid to paint his own picture, still. His room had not been designed a prison, so his being held captive could not have been foreseen prematurely by his own imagination. Actually, in the description permeating his mind, the room held no walls, was guarded by an empty hall. An autonomous wasteland. Infertile forms in blossom. The very way he was abducted, the very way that he stood. Held horizontally by a metallic pipe. His legs had broken. His body morphed. His feet drawn over his head, crisscrossed at the heels. Like the suffering spider, whose legs crawl over the head and fasten to the neck. Can you imagine his arms? Wrapped around the waist, held at the lower back, where his wrists have been broken and mended so as to conjoin. His eyes, washed with acid so he could only tell seeing with his nose. And he had a nose. It was all that remained. His ears, waxed shut, boiled and rorn. His nose was spared. Not out of mercy, but malice. His trench, the nest of his gloom. The size of his reconstructed body. He could not move an earth’s inch. He could not descend or rise, he had been fastened shut to the enormous pipes. His neck, situated so the shaft could run through his mouth. But he was alive, and to maintain his life, veering on the cusp of death, he had to be fed. Several times in a month, at the hour of his meal, a sentient guard was sent to his staple trench. He would proceed to drop his pants, turn around, and squat, delivering a cloud of feces into the metallic shaft. For this benefit he had been spared a nose, to recognize the difference between his meals and his imagination.
A room you want to claim.
To watch succeed.
He had a system he thought might work. If he liked an idea, he would nod. Between nods he would pace, sweating and pulling at his hair. Failure is the underlying fear. He chose a melancholic palette from the start. People develop skills that can be useful. To camp in the cemetery grounds. He believed in magic, turning to look at the mirage of bookmarks. Bookmarks, painted along the sky. He had to be used to the neighborhood, the area. He counted each bookmark, naming them after dreams he hadn’t seen yet, still to cross off his list. Poetry is not dead but for the keepers of the walls. He feels himself grow in stature. Near the gates, he holds an insect to his eyes, examining it. Tents that wave won’t hold. He doesn’t believe in poetry. The venom of worn love. He touches the callouses of his skin. He paints an impression, somewhere. He watches us, wondering what he would do if he were able to lie. He buries his head in his hands.
I am desperate.
I am alone in the wild.
I heard the bells. Malicious, poised to bite. Revolutionaries outnumbered. There’s something in the air. Will you read us something? He chooses to admire the insect, circling its many eyes until he reasons they are eggs. A coming generational disturbance. At least they were forewarned. As they drew closer to shore, he held his stare on the man across deck, glazed against ship’s railing. He wanted reasoning for their landing, but it had not yet been given. He listened with careful watch on the movement of the ship towards the old port town, shrouded in a spellbound mist. Storytellers bore you with details. I have taken a journey. If it is more than what you have driven, I apologize. If it is less, I bow, wanting the warning poem of salvation, demanding a poem that sails. But he did not sail in the alphabet, where others begged. He turned like a parachute, his scripture bound to muscle, twitching his neck like a snake. To storm the rear, find a keeper who sells his secrets. He would pay the usual price, paid along the path. I step into the courtyard. He was engrossed by fear. But he had the feeling that even in their stubbornness the muses would be found. He had his affairs, and the stakes rose higher by his neglecting to employ some sort of screen. A labyrinth with no doors. I watch her bathe. He hands her the disease. Do you want to be made a star? He circles the muses in their cages. The courtyard, overrun. But he was not at his sharpest, not at that hour, and it can also be said, the ceiling was swarming to digress an acute wave of sound. I can hear them. Protective screens over the faces. A reserve of natural light. Two halves, dispersed between two floors. Interlocking hills. Lines of stock on aisle shelves. A sanctuary nest, anchored with a lilac mane. Pilgrims abandon ship before the vessel drowns. The harvest was obliterated, torn from the soil. A cull de sac room, void of light. A large tumor sits in the room. Litters of mouths waiting to inhabit their prize.
The first mouth opens.
Where are you from? The epoch’s end. Carry the fire with fingers cold. One last season grew her wings. He didn’t it difficult to raise the words from the confines of his thinking them while he stuttered into the dwelling. A besieged nest that overcomes the rampant surrounding smell. I didn’t want to fuck you.
The second mouth opens.
He exhausted the means to destruction, and that was enough to destroy what he wanted to destroy. A solute that withers like dust at the first sign of fear. If you unleash a pack of wolves you have to feed them. I wanted to warn him. Dignitaries go bang. The individual of the whole.
The third mouth opens.
I slept under the muse’s temple. Do you think she’s coming? He waited at the pier.
On this day of infinite days let us rejoice in where we are. On sight, overhead, drifting into the channel. The current pulls. Hurry of rafts, swapping shores. The caves lining the beach. The hawser had been thrown, steering into a pool of slack. He watched, a seafaring dream. Pastel reds overlap the sky. The memory of circumcision. The howls of a nearby widow. He searched, blinded by improbable zeal. He yielded, twice to the allure of pregnant game, he shamed her! I realize the book is not in my hands. What does he want with it? He sits in the final square of the park, among desolate bands he envied. He watches her take hold of a pencil, twirling it in the air. She stretches her legs, relaxes. A pin drops to the ground. I choose to stay. It is in her hands. Everyone is reading the book. He returns to the book in his hands. The changes are superficial. But they matter. It refuses to drive to the bone. I stare at the book in my hands. He feels the limp hands of a juggler on his shoulders. A slack rope falls. A brush crosses onto the page. He watches the brush. Restless, driven. A confluence of styles. He would fight the brushstrokes, but he notices something. The stroke imbues an image. The brush stops. He waits. He hears a solemn laugh. He wondered, what motive the brush entailed. It would be wrong to assume, but then again, who else? He decides to tear the book apart. How the brush wants! I demand attention. At that moment, before he began to imagine himself becoming part of a larger narrative, however elemental, he managed to notice a degree of realignment he had not noticed before. The images could be ordered in any context, retaining their identity. Transitions would be smooth, enabling him to feel, unlike before, progressing through the transcripts of a story. The brush curled in all directions. Some miles away, he could hear the echoes of a demonstration. He remembered, that the most important stories were the ones confined to space, portraying a specific impression, however realistic or absurd. A port swallowed by the quagmire. A deckhand running his mouth. Had he known them? He composed several of the paintings, many of them outlines. But this was not his place. Strangers, whose faces he could not see, spelling their noses with light, textured strokes, preferring an overcast sky to sunshine. Monochrome, as his friend would later say. I began writing this many years ago. I was about your age. Do you have the time? Someone had chosen to sit next to him, and it was a blessing, he had delved some way deep, forgetting where he had been. The time? He nods approvingly. He looks over the plain, scattered chestnut trees nesting an assortment of races. She doesn’t live here. He understood. He looks back at the book. He skips over a few of the pages, remembering the first line he would have chosen. That’s sad, the stranger says. He turns around. I try to remember the line I first noticed. He flips errantly through the pages. All we have left is a brush. A dancer. Organ donor. Stool. He had wanted to become these things. Then he realized what he was. I recover the pages. He takes a moment to glance over his shoulders. There’s a way to reading this without caring. The stranger must have mumbled. All ports are quietly the same. I remember now. The diaspora century. The texture of his voice. Imminent gift. Disguise unparalleled. The traveling of transgression. I drink from her excesses. We had strength in numbers. I traded my legs for horns.
We are all dead souls.
The dead collect their bones.
The trouble with endings is their permanence. He knows the walls fit. He knows they keep him safe. Every image that ever shamed him stood in his mind. A fool’s witness. The louse kind.
I fear everything.
I fear nothing.
The fool’s harvest confirmed to his mind, he had some way still to go. Mangled dimensions of the room emit no light. I wait for cunning. The supreme. Darkness settles over a wounded house. He wraps the scarf around his neck. Two torches. I stand against the roughgrass. He wears a mark on his arm. painting in his memory the outstanding image of an erupting fountain. The captain, plain faced, handing out roses in the square. My life beats twelve frames per second. He holds the knife with ulterior hands, shifting between frames. Birds stuffed with hormones eating the pudding. He waved a chicken’s head in the air. I cut it for you. He looks offscreen. The others are waiting. Purging for liberation. The narrative of sunless pulled into a streetcar. Observe, in the morning I will recite two poems of separate meaning. One, I deliver for my memory of you, the other, to recapture the flame.
The dystopic night preceding our downfall.
Men gathering for work. The authorities fear inspection. Camps run outside city walls. The muse enlists. Molasses grapes and broomsticks. Is he out there already? The hairline of a skinned lamb. Traveling incremental stages of despair, he had seen them already. Performing the moods of others, he was prepared. A number of dogs packed with explosives. I hear the horns. The anchor on his body. Lying dead around the house. He felt dead inside. A drifter chores for living. The gutter howls. To dig our young leagues below the ground throughout the occupation. To surface only for victory. He wondered, would we dare surface after resisting so long? What enemy has the nerve to occupy an abandoned country? It was believed in the days of sovereigns and seafaring charters, that the people of this port were servile creatures. Sat around all day on account of it being so despairingly hot. Under the wistful sun, happiness feels, for a brief moment, attainable. I only knew the port after the war. His generation, watching from a distance. He could never accomplish the stroke, finite colored, unequal pigmentation, so as to elude his brush from its strokes, escaping at the threat of emulation. He could not speak with a brush stroke what could be ascertained with words.
He focused his attention on another drawing.
He had often stared at the drawing in the morning thinking it was not yet finished but could have been had he gone about things with a different air. Then, in that very moment, he would recount such air with a gesture, linking two hands together, raising them to his hair, and cracking his knuckles, before cracking his back. He wanted the cracks to sound the way a dancer taps heel against the ground. He would make that sound, his brushes descending the cabinets, and later, he would use that sound to ascertain an impression, from which to detail his wounds. An imprint of perception, he thought. He imagined himself worthy of reputation. Nothing yet made to his name.
He came upon a painting.
Over the course of his life, the landscape would change form, share other qualities, evolve. But the figure remained the same. It made him wonder, what great harm he might have done had he known them. The painting scarred into his eyes. I follow his lead. We climb the stairs. He lodges his foot between the rails, to leap forward. Good capacity with the boots. He was on the list. Led forwards, dirty steps. Sold the charge. He wanted memory. Taking turns at the helm. Keys that lock from inside. The room door opens. His first steps into the room. The ceiling recedes. I kick in with my legs. He takes the keys. I see the outlines of a pier. Everywhere he turned he saw the same boxes light up when he found them. He was already there, watching them from the windowsill, most of their lives. He was always there. He would haunt them. He would wait at their window. He would love. Pulling at the dirt. Worn feet. He carried his legs over the sleeves. He was tired, clenching both his fists into a bunch. To feel. He held them at his side, walking. The first few scenes were gone. If he wanted them to return, they wouldn’t. The outlines of a narrative. He must have stopped in his steps. He must have coughed and held a fist to cover his mouth. Someone present, he was desperate not to infect them. But as soon as he had thought up the disease, he stopped altogether and pleaded, for the insignificance of a name. He waited. He was very patient, and the more he waited, the less he felt like he was waiting for something to happen, but waiting for something to end. The next image he told me about is the next one.
The one you think will succeed.
He had been told this by someone familiar. The next image he told me is the most important. He walks into a room, decorated with hanging shelves equidistant from their neighbors and equal distance apart. The pace between the shelves is undecided, all of them similar size. He felt prepared, and why not prepare for something he had written, and that was when it occurred to him, standing at an uneven level away from the room, warded off from the appearance of the shelves by their uniform character, seeing them as one figmented line in the distance, that he was visualizing through the lens of his own creation a convex projection into his soul. He took a humble step forwards, bowing politely. He acknowledged, that the imagery he had endured was the wanton channeling of a fated circus. He climbed through the projection of light and outbound eruption of an image. He felt the palm of his hands, as if to question one final time before taking the plunge, whether it was himself becoming, or having already become, the face of what he most feared, the shadow he had long ignored. He coughed again, uneasily, and when he drew hands to face he felt the sweatiness of his palms rise onto his skin, feeling himself alive. At the very least, pretending. A shallow cliff leads into another, a hole rooted in the ground. He watched with delight, images spring from the well as though driven forwards by the intention of a geyser. The stage of the birth canal, he felt calm, feeling the images distinct of former selves. He felt relief, for being the one to witness them unravel. He was his only ally in that moment, and although he felt inclined to dive into the void, he didn’t, choosing instead to watch from where he stood, the trajectory of a shaken subconscious. Holding his feet pressed against the ground, dipping the interphalangeal joint of his toes, he spread his arms in the air.
The overt glorification of imperial will.
Lifting a ship over an entire mountain.
He included images from the film into his own story. The mystery in the shifting floors. The children playing an autistic chorus. I want his reputation. Was he really there? He never dropped anchor when he was warned.
The air is desolate because I say it is.
Your hair curls like the curvature of a trumpet.
You are not brass, stone.
BARA is to be performed.
His face turns cold. He climbs some steps to lengthen the divide. The remote surface of the crater floor. He bowed, submitting his sight to the reeling darkness. Do you know why BARA is? I heard something that morning. Have you heard it before? For a moment, he chooses to believe he is a poet. Will you read us something? He juggles the cast of a circus parade. Losing instinct, he was laid bare to the hazards of his mind, succumbing to a certain spell. I can be anywhere yet I am here. Where would he become when given the light of presence? A slice of his tongue, splintered. Where have all the songbirds flown! He thought of charging the palace. He watched the snow encircle their forms. He retreats to the corner, holding a basket of lenses and infirmary equipment. I feed my struggle to be one with you. A voyeur, at watch.
At first glance he was not disturbed.
Venturing into the wilderness, he had expected powerful opposition. The chiming of two identical bells. The wolf’s howl through the minaret. A few stray dogs in the air, nothing calculable. He had left, but he returned, knowing it, feeling himself the focus of an audition. A marionette ensemble of his impressions. The insignia written in an expired language. He had left the room, only to return again, this time knowingly but without the knowledge of where he was going. He was in the same room. And he was alone. A few steps to the nearest entrance, but the entrance had changed. He was not alarmed, he had probably imagined it. He felt rigid, tired. He must have felt hunger, felt thirst. But he ignored the feeling altogether, otherwise, in his very place, a sandwich might have surfaced. He sat there a while to enhance the taste. His mind, elsewhere, and it kept going, it could not be quieted down. To chew he had to swallow his piece whole. He was not directly in the act of thinking, presumably in a state of deep being. Naturally, he thought briefly of his being aroused but soon forgave the idea. Shifting senses with no intention. It can be very quiet in an empty room. The larger the room the quieter, he was beginning to learn. And how to expand the room? Images of youth sprang to his mind. Things he had not ever cared to remember. Photographs he had not known were taken. Was it possible? He did it. A few months without listening to music, what do you think you hear? He had expected the masters to storm his ears but it never happened. He heard jingles and chimes from childhood. The shameless sounds he had ignored. Imagining summer walks, his first kiss, a bottle spread between two thighs. A circular object flew forcefully in the air, striking him in the face. It wasn’t true, that did not happen. The room had gone so quiet, he jittered in his steps at the very moment an image sprang to his mind, and as the two, his physical movement and the arrival of an image coincided to conclude on the following moment, he was shaken to bits, an eerie chill firing his head backwards as though he had been struck, but he wasn’t, he was capable of imagination. He thought he had been bruised but he hadn’t. He was surprisingly unmoved, falling witness a momentous image. Something he had not seen in years, probably in this very life. Something his inner being could remember. A morning walk between two temples, accompanied by a guide who made his name by remaining silent. Approaching him, like the cartographic imprint of a cosmic journey, the prolonged rotation of a mandala. In the center he saw a serpent, coiled around a beam he took to be his features. But he did not know he had seen the beam, that it would come to entrench his life. But it was early. He continued. He saw the snake unravel, the remaining elements orient themselves around the snake. As the snake uncoiled he saw the snake rising up the beam, slithering through the imprints of an elephant herd, a crown of giants, a mutiny of dwarves, and the footprints of an acrobat veering into fetish. He felt the elements coil into themselves, brimstone onto metal, alchemy of the woods. The snake was expelled from the mandala. He coughed, and the image disappeared. The room still quiet, his mind recovering from the image he had just remembered, he was prepared to return to thinking of nothing and accomplishing what little could be expected of an afternoon. But fate would demand otherwise. Suddenly, as briskly as a ballerina takes the stage, a very old man crept into his sight. His back was entirely hunched, his neck protruding from his shoulders, so that he looked impressed in a flame of despair. His clothes were but sheets to the bone. A faint light shone through the roof, illuminating his figure in the room. He felt at that moment that he should be awestruck but he wasn’t, not yet. Not until the following moment when, without his own anticipating, the creature, standing at full attention, turned his ailing form in the direction of his witnessing. From an impassable distance he caught his eyes. He craned his neck so his face beamed like that of a vulture. From where he stood he couldn’t see the figure’s eyes condensed in darkness, and as he noticed his hands tremble so too did he notice his own. In the presence of his own shadow. A serpent rising from the plexus. The immaculate, he heard his voice for the very first time.
Do you know what BARA is?
A hierarchy of ideas. Indifference to the wellbeing of others. He was not the only one. I have the patience of a hummingbird. I wait nowhere to hear my voice. I will forgive your being hasty. Monuments and tombs erected for the poor. All beings share one common virtue. Cutting his nails, he used a steady twist of his left hand to cut into the skin. He moved with very little friction, knowing he was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice, something not previously imagined. But he remained autonomous, while a series of explosions rocked the port. Several targets destroyed. A set of diversions in place. Part of a general network that prepare a visitor for their role. A watchman, a guardian, a keeper. Who owns the wall if the wall is not governed? Before he was martyred, he could have said it himself. He was a dead man before they counted up his number. He knew a smoking gun would never be found, and if it was, it would be blamed on him, he was entrenched inside the room and it was his fault. He had decided not to flee, but then again, had he ever been given the choice? That very night, he heard the babies wail, hurled from an erected mantel. It was his doing. He imagined it. No, he knew. Pulled from their wombs prematurely, before they could be enslaved. A silver lining fell to him from the sky. He realized he had not been sacrificed.
He set forth to appeal the muses.
He had discovered his illness and it was his instinct to ask, was I horrified? After the passing of festival, he slept himself to a stupor, out of fear. In truth, he could not verify if he ever really slept, and those nights where he had he preferred to be shaken from sleep than remain in the doldrums of his dreams. An incendiary contribution of images formed to unsettle his nerves. Was he dreaming? He made his way through life with trepidation. Where was he now? Discovering a network of indifferent. experience. The first lay in plain sight, in the worst of conditions. He did not applaud the circumstance shared. He sat quietly and understood, this is where the process begins. The rest is history, something he never wants to understand, being the type to court his enemies when he felt comfortable. He paved directions toward the gallery, and went there. On the least interesting of evenings, where most novels end or tend not to begin, when a symphony might callous or choreography pause, he found a semblance of something promising. He had not been intending to leave the quarter. He had lived a good life. The case with you is the case with others. If I hold my tongue, you leave. He did not do it on purpose, engaging in the pursuit of dreams. He would have ended hiding in the woods, if it did not happen. He was bored, holding onto four walls.
I want to explain my story.
He saw himself in the flesh.
He was in love.
Most who visit where he is going tend to lose their reserve. Having received no training, compelled by inappropriate taste, the only truth that excludes them from suffering at the hands of their imagination is their arriving at their own free will.
A cloud in the distance, he walked.
Tired, he continued walking, juxtaposing the fruits of his mind to the rate at which the weather changed. He kept going. The going gets bigger. He walked with speed and conviction. The consummation of all things. Providence. A silver lining fell to him from the sky. He listened. He had expected someone to arrive, known to his townsmen, rowing them across the river. He had never seen the other side of the bridge. He had not crossed it. The plan is to penetrate the elusive distance. I want to penetrate the elusive whole. Long ago, he decided, the excuses would not be yours. Isn’t it time? I want those crevices cleaned. The nocturnal passing of another mystery. He was following his intuition, and it worked. He believed it would do him well. Something romantic, returning home by foot. Even if the weather sours. Overcast sky, streets dim. Leaves scattered on the fringe. Spasmed coughs of wind gliding against his face. He waited at the pier. His thoughts were eased. He found harmony in that moment, a semblance of things past forgotten. He had his practice, the taste of youth, coming of age in a purgatorial wonder. At times, he had felt he had everything. The expansive chalice of the port of ports! He had it all.
I hold his hand.
He was glad to have finally met. He watched his lips widen, bowing lightly with his eyes. The promise of youth passed, he felt the sudden urge to bow. In that moment, he could only have been given what is given to those who have not yet passed, but he felt he had been given more. Be forwards, man. Are you worried? It was friendly, at first. He had the audacity to meet and so it would be done. He knew he would take nothing to the other side. He had only what he had forgotten still to experience. A kind man. A gentle man. He seemed light, moving swiftly with intent, lifting his arms to carry his words, pausing his legs to annunciate. Could it be that he was there? To speak of times changing is to continue, never to halt, when the words of a mystic are eager in sight. I have met your muse. A diffuse tension fills the air. The city, ripe for disaster. Always on the cusp! I want to elicit peace, aren’t you grateful? A peace less subtle than that of our parents, when they settled for none. A sensory scent of imagery to enjoy. Sitting around a winter fire in a pupil’s cabin. I’ve wanted to share something with you. A dream I keep having. The pumpkin fell into my lap. I saw everything. He held everything at once. He felt, too young to have himself heard, yet too old to remain alive. I want to urge us forward. He struggled with his words, and his body reacted. His hands were dilating, his pupils enraged. He felt the earth with his phrases. He had his legs. And yet, he was not going where he intended to go. He could not be surprised, or blame himself outwardly. If he was not yet ready, it meant, he did not have the authority, feeling himself confined to the city. A city of merchants and refugees. Idle passengers shirking life. The rooms are shipped in four rows, and the columns are endless. It would be impossible to see the end from either side. Standing in the center, one is aware they have gone too far. Eyes that stir where minds are fraught. A cloud of fatalism run its course. But they are not fatalist, so to say they are hurriedly angered is to be mistaken for ideology, whereby thinking their rights infringed. But he knew it was not the case. Bullies of their own perception. He watched provisions hauled in from the water. Long metallic poles, attaching fireworms from the mountain as bait. Expired goods, they all knew it. It was probably that they were not there. Still, he would have eaten them. The important wear it on their faces. Armbands worn past the current of yawns. Who is most wasteful and who isn’t? The coastline was not notable for anything, except for the morning sun. At that hour, nothing could be sold, and game free of charge. Life currents in symbols varnished with expired signs. The lights we tore down near the independence rock. The roof we smoked above your house. Homes atop one another with no apparent harmony to their rule. Each home built to outsmart the last. Where could it all have been going? Was he not there? The facades that form off the balconies, shields onto the homes, appear to be made of plastic but for the relentless glare. The starred image of a servant washing the glass with linens in her hands. He even dared to fuck the servant but he thought it too crude, she had belonged to him, so what? Ducking his responsibilities in bed, shirking his renaissance aims, he thought of horses stabbed at the sack, whose knees we chopped to maintain our own height. Horses whose jockeys climb pregnant hills. We ruined it! A shadow mass overlooks the city square, nestled between two lines. He wanted to be there, and to own the cause with his fists so he might enforce them. Lowlying architecture but for the purpose of hills, who extend the shadow of each building, urging pockets of light and pockets of darkness. Where nothing can be seen but figured, swallowed by the immensity of the hole. Isn’t she breathtaking? Have you seen this hole? I will describe it. The property on which it lies is imaginary. To illustrate, in a material sense, something that does not exist, the borders are used to delineate size. Two giant walls that can never be breached. Their names are unknown, the appearance vague. The palette is painted with remnants, craters of a collective suspicion. Ruins where monuments have stood, canals empty of life and water. A vale seeps through the city, streaming out into the sea, but it is empty. The only dam built is too narrow and so its been neglected. Villages, in need of water. Valleys, in need of rain. The imagery he resorted to, of marble mortared onto concrete, tunnels flowing under the sand, was authentic enough to earn him a clap. Who claps in an empty room? Someone who arrives uninvited never leaves without being noticed. But what he could not explain, except by sheer force of dialectical stammering, was the music that arose from a singular terrace by the masonic dancing of laundry hung out to dry. And the rumors discounting the occurring of festival, until it has begun. A circle of my own perception leads me to revel in the beginning. But to keep one’s eyes glued to the architectural narrative of a mythological hole is to lose one’s own denominational size. I have passed through life injured. I look around me to see what the others spend their time doing, and it hurts. I study the walls that compel us to escape. There is no escaping.
The procession of an empty chorus.
The calamity of my suffering.
He had belief. Belief in the unwavering process of being, and not. Playing an empty funeral. A sea of purged souls. For the mere sake of ambience, an ensemble of empty words. Did he claim it? He had bitten into the walls, knowing, no strength is held completely over an entity unless he were able to extract bone marrow with a dip of his finger into its skin. Noise, to mute an absent audience. I must have been dreaming of you. At certain times, gasping for air, dreaming little insects were burying their young. All the furniture in the room, destroyed. He was convinced he had to listen to the space that isn’t played, to infer the noise that is not made for his hearing. What had he intended to hear if not his own stark will? Where genius begins, playing for the notes that cannot be played. Something light, for the epilogue. Without the briefest shyness, he determined not to shrug his shoulders and walk away, instead, remain transfixed on his mission. He was ashamed, but he had to be careful. He had to divert the monstrosity of his imagination. A mutiny might develop if he did not take care of the seeds. Where is this all going? Instinct navigates the wayward vessel. Participants under the influence of psychoactive drugs. Receptors in the body counteract the body’s natural reliance on inhibitors. Veterans modify the result through meditation. A technique spreading amongst the classes, specifies a form of breathing known as holotropic, to connect to the subconscious and extract an archive of repressed information. Concrete imagery fused with sensory objects of abstraction. A channel into the third matrix, the traumas of the birth canal, a plutonic sword. Having endured a portion of trauma, he was quiet, complaining about a pain in his upper right thigh, rising to the groin. Within several hours, the infection was obvious. He was under the impression he had been molested in another room, a variation of his conscious dimension. Worms were being piled into an aquarium to concoct a remedy for his condition. Worms were known to target the infiltration of a parasite, and he was obviously worried. It could get worse. The peeling gave way to scabs. He looked damaged, under the spell of some curse. But it was not unusual for him to feel sick. Particularly the young, who like it in the rooms, remain too long. The air frees the body, at first. Outside, the hassle of citizenship, and borders. What for? The port is empty. The rooms are clean. They travel far in the rooms, and they are fed well. Honey and gold, warm bread, date pudding, fresh olives. The simplicity of a dream. He finally found the gate. He realized, he wasn’t confined to the room like he imagined. He had imagined that the guards might disappear, and they did, he noticed. The moment he felt his freedom, he wanted to flee. It’s too dangerous. To be released into the vacuum. He found himself over the gate, and on. The pupils were reading, the peasants drank their songs. Where do you think we’re headed? To the occasion! He laughed. The deck lay muted. The ark, built of fine wood, the steering made of ivory. He slouched his arms. A sense drifted into the room, carrying a cask of water. The thing he heard before mounting august’s deathbed, the sun leaked into our chambers. He lost his courage. Are you bored of me? She looked him square in the eyes.
The port of ports is a dream.
You are not there but we are.
Bruises haggling under vanquished daylight, the alleys disguised in rotten despair. The merchants sell photographs of a different time. Is this the way to the water? The water is on the other side. He had been seen, plotting his entrance from outside the garden. He lifts his torso, plants his feet. The rooms change to his designation. I breathe for the port of the ports. Do you march over the bridge? He watched over the precipice. The street named after a landmine. A lion out of his cage. He stands at the doorway, holding the pages. Did you like it? I wrote it for you.
I touch a human skull. The only things stored for later use were dynamite and poison. A town uprooted from the soil. We have fallen into naked sleep. He yields fields that are not real. A shore that is not there. The passing of a ghost. What were you looking for? The servants wear armor so as to harbor their names. His bed, resting on a plank, lifted by a single stone. The stone gives way to a spread of roots, veins circling the floor in a stream of water. He lay on his stomach in obvious pain. A servant washing his body with a wet towel, dipped in rosewater. The orifice of an empty sky. A window at the ceiling carved open, a great ray of light descending. He did not move a single breath. Before he could speak, before he could make his feelings heard, to announce his retreat, defeated, a door swung open away from the dome. He heard the footsteps of a stranger. It may be hard to believe, but at the time, he did not think it possible to add to his discomfort. In such a room, anything was deemed possible. The scent of a garlic stew rising from her imprisoned feet. A blood curdling scream from next door. An impassioned prince relaying his sorrow. He had to lift his neck very quietly to make himself heard, and it was not without significant expulsion of force that he was able. Before he knew it, he was surrounded by a herd of disfigured bodies, crawling on three legs, stitched together into pairs, disrespected. He maintained his distance, forming the outline of a ceiling dome. He laughed. He laughed because he had no idea what he was perceiving. The figure crept into light and he saw his painful face, a reflection of something he had seen. Maimed and scarred, cut open like the botched piercing of two halves. Gripping a bag of seeds against his chest, do you have a spoon, he whispered? The extending figures of a gaping mouth. An iron foot and silver whip in his hand. He hung so dryly over the room that the very weight of his falling would have shattered the flooring entirely. But he did not speak, he only mouthed some words, opening his mouth like a hawk to perform a squeamish sound. He hissed, as though he had to. Spitting, his senses losing the plane of sight, he laughed in all directions. Claiming the attention of the room, finding his moment to disappear, he ran. He turned and ran like a child runs from a woken forest bear, like the gazelle flees the lion’s hunt, I ran. The stranger whose voice troubled his core stood directly behind him. He was lifted off the ground, feeling a pair of scaly hands run across his body. He could not steer but he wanted to survive, only to see it through because it wasn’t over, he was not yet done. But he could not scream and he did not yell, suffering the consequence of his entrapment with pride.
I know a disease that spreads.
He stood pregnant with hesitation.
At the height of disgust, and afterwards, nothing. He felt discouraged, everything he had seen. Fleeing the servitude of disease he heard the clipping of an abscess beam. He moved forward, dancing at the behest of an absent limb. The strangest sensation! He felt the apology of his heart. He was laughing. How it came I’ll never know. But in that moment, suffocating under his noose, he laughed. He broke the hold of his surroundings, elbowing his way to the edges of the floor, piling his feet into the running stream, he toweled his body in its warmth.
I felt alive.
Using the accrued powers of his being, all he could do was laugh. He recounted the last image he had seen before his eyes clotted with guilt, crawling towards the emblem of an ending room. He heard the festival’s child cry a chorus of laughter thrown over the reigns. A betrodden fiefdom, he sought the fleeing temper of a hearse. He wilted, pushing his head into the plexus of a muse’s statue and a door flung open. He flew into the marked abyss. His clothes had been changed, his vision depleted. Why do I run? His neck was striving from his shoulders, his back hunched like a hawk. By some force foreign to his nature, he pushed through the curtains. I could not make sense of the distance. A forceful light drew his form. He was alone, in that he did not recognize he could be seen clearly with both of his eyes. He must have been struck by esoteric sensation, overcome, because his face blurred like the portrait of a man whose paint is melting. He spoke his first and final words. If you are the type to believe take them for what they are. He turned his attention to the empty audience, and he spoke, knowing the words could not have been his own. The keepers say the year has been one of our best. Could he blame them for reeling in their pride? People do not realize they are in the midst of revolution until swords are drawn and it’s too late to pick sides. He was already saying he would be leaving, but he had nowhere else to go, and for the things he hadn’t seen he hadn’t heard about them. The hills do not flood a drifter over the borders, into the welcoming arms of a neighborly giant. Tyrants, all of them. He waited, to hear his name called out, taken into custody, found out. He would laugh at them, planning copiously for a future that is not theirs. Had he noted their behavior? He didn’t want to be discovered as a recruit. The charms of espionage are over. He seemed prepared to make his statement, finding it interesting, alluding to the way it calmed the walls. He spent the night beside the harbor, wishing the fumes were a trail of your departure. Am I so pathetic? He wished of love in a pool of snakes. An ancient burial ground to lay our seeds. An island that blessed the brave, mother liberty at her side. He cowered. Who puts poetry in my heart? Do you realize how little I have? The madman yells. He must have heard my thoughts, crumbling in an invisible rage. I feel the texture of my face. The coarseness of my skin. The itch, remembering the victim whose leprosy chewed his soul, while the world stood unaware. Unflinched from the depths. Deception tucks her hands under her chin. Busy with his thoughts, rooted in the germs.
At least our wall stands.
To destroy a wall you need one.
He wanted the freedom to measure the box. He had acquired a new set of dials. By turning his gaze onto another mirror, he could imagine a different set of principles, realign the constitutional void as he immediately likes. This was how he intended to make life worthwhile in the room. He had been given something extraordinary. He wanted to do it right. It would matter what would be said of him, how he preferred. He knew he would err. It could not pale him. He was adamant to fulfill the past. Isn’t there still a word sympathetic to our cause? A sack of moths in his bag, holding onto them until he had her in his sight, and he could light them to preserve the electricity. Roaches, pulled out from the dreads. He used to hide under the doorframe to scare the old men. He thinks of these things before sleeping, carrying their weight. He realized, he had not sat under an olive tree in years, and immigrants picked them from his garden. I have not smelled jasmine uprooted on your lips. He stared into another motive. The plan to discard memory was not done. Could he think outside the box? He had his own tribe to consider. What use was worry, what effect violence? He could not decide. A man, juggling sensibilities. The situation so murky every step sounded a tragic chord, minor melodies he had heard before. He could not sleep without prayer, he could not kneel to pray. He felt restless. Collectors at his door, for his resources, his gifts. To keep a table of confidence is to open the mines of consciousness. It would obliterate him. How long had he spent hidden? He would be found. The poisoned well, damp with moonlight’s wandering. The victim’s cell. Profiteering. The clans, debating deals that could never be made. He was ashamed.
I miss you, is that so harsh?
Do you want me to continue knowing what we know? If time has not availed our tides, everything steeped in spurned love, how will I ever find you? He knew he would not be able. The ecosystem diluted in qualms. He tries to drink where it is healthy but everywhere is poisoned. The borders teased the offer, he felt safest sleeping in the sheets of his dreaming than the reality of the port.
Clouds on the periphery pass between us.
We will trample Plymouth’s progeny.
The dread of unfinished writing. The pleasures of arrogance. The treasure of love. It was not easy for him to say it, and he felt in his speaking honestly a sense of haste control him. He waited for the noise of romance celebrating in his heart. He had his only cherished memory in his hands, a tribute of the summer. Remember, when we abducted some friends and made a pass to the mountains? The shape of our footprint in the swamp. Reading the existential papers. He could not remember their names, the distinct locations. To quarrel his past he had to resign. Sung to the fall of an empire I cling to your ears. It is my dream to sway you through these words, to love.
Song of the woodwind, the hermit rings.
Everything begins and ends with refutation of your beauty.
The lark flies above our waists.
You grieve for belief and without you I am nothing.
Somewhere in the darkness under the cover of woods.
Do you know how long it takes to be close to you?
The words do not flow because there are none. Trust me, I have sat where you sit, slept in the waste, swam the sea to the port of ports. I touched her wings flapped open. In submitting this vessel to the cosmological condition of my ignorance I see it all, I see nothing, wanting nothing more than to live without having to brave the winter. Or he could only have been summoning her, nobody would know, and it was not their concern, though with their standing so close to his encampment, he thought to himself, it makes sense for them to care. A pretense to emotion, he could have been much worse. He could have been better. Slumming at the core. Ruminating at the bottom. Tuning to the impressions of a pianist’s nave, he found the heartbeat he was looking for, and it was empty.
I have been made a fool.
To forgive for my insults, light wind to these pages, go where you can. A gesture, made at reason’s hour. Forcing the issue was not his style. The room was overloaded, crowded, impossible to maneuver. A partisan clash. Everyone has a name, except him. He had the idea for the rooms to intersect. The best songs were circumsciscioned. Attaching to orifices of a pipeline, twisting the ankles to form a brace. He designed it. All in a day’s work. The sun set over the other side, along the outlines of the canopy, a long thick evergreen of leaves. The trees die when it snows out here. A horn sounded outside, passing familiar roars of approval. He sat on the floor under the window. He had been given a sturdy rock to smoke at his discretion, to ease into the twilight. Noticing another wind, he waited some time to light the smoke, worrying it would be turned off in the gust, leaving him with the memory of what he had held in his bare hands. They were beginning to lose their leaves. I wanted something beautiful. When the door was opened out of his own free will, he wept at his feet for forgiveness. A little seahorse, training to lift the aura of the crowd. Something similar to nothing else. A spaceship uses two hand drawn sails to exit the atmosphere and orbit the world. His world. A plastic plate, feeding the elder man. He didn’t care for what he said, he only wanted to ensure the man was actually there, that he had not dreamt him in his mind, to occupy his eyes with something beautiful. He wanted to invite a chorus, but to keep them from singing for some technical matter he could blame on the occult. Foreign wiring, botched appliance. The canvas is complex, and the minutes seldom turn. The beginnings rest in the palm of her hand. Depicted on a moving canvas, watched through the eyes of his accomplice. Was he really there? All that is simple of our exchange. Finding your wardrobe, walking the dog. Can we afford these liberties? He ran with the intent of a lunatic. He had in his eyes, for some time then and greater time later, the glaze of a traveler drifting away from the shore. Who could foretell the end, he thought, the envious ache for his love ran through him. Had he learned to swim he still would have remained to suffer. An acrobat, a painter of sighs. He lives now where you once lived. For enmity, he wears a purple sleeve over his chest to remind you he is homeless. Between two seas and two despotic rivers. A madman bound to reclusion. Taking his tea on his rooftop in the immediate precision of a storm. Counting fallen flakes, leaflets of persuasion. Should I resign? The first sight of dawn, detained in the ambiguity of space. He never wrote for the constitution. He wrote for heart’s ache! He did not know in that moment where he had arrived. He slowed down, his head fixed to the ground. He turned a suspicious corner, where he felt he had been freed, led by his own decision. Then, he saw her. No length of time can imply how long it had been since he’d seen her last. It would seem he had passed through paradigms unscathed, supplied to hold her in his sight. But could it be so romantic! I was expecting myself to be kinder near the end. He shoveled me off, like I was paying for his penalty. But I forgave him. He had the virtue of a fox. He urged, with the fire of his youth to approach her. He did not move from his place. He remained transfixed, a fiend for marching stripped of his legs. But he knew he should have gone up to her, in whatever way. The sorry street. The cabin rope we lunged over the rail. The image of you dancing at the fountain. Somebody must have saved you. I was a fool for you. A mule. He watched her, beside the steel enclosure of a home. Scattered images of a life together. The shading of the light, the shadow of the street lamp forming on their shoulders. Had she been warned, she might have noticed the strange figure lurking in the shadows. But she would never notice. The insignificant loom large. Sometime later she disappeared, they all disappear. He had crouched in the darkness, mesmerized, overtaken by calm. Let it last! Having seen it all again. He walked over to her home. The ornament of fall. The path had led him there and he relented to reflect. Inside, he heard the playing of her mother’s cello. He peered in through the glass, stained with the embellishment of life. Her mother wilted in her chair, as she had always done each night, playing a song of hope. Never lament for the dead. She did not believe in death. Older now but still beautiful.
Over the past few years I have taken a journey.
What did he become? Gone from his sight, he attempted to compose his anthem. He fitted one globe over the other. He knows a room with no locks. For his namesake, the brushing of incense, he drank the chalice of fermented malaise. Why did you come to his footstool? He cleanses his ears, hums for the mariner embroidered in the wind. Tired of his fleece, he sang softly, a cynical taste in his mouth.
I am a louse puppet.
A torn kite.
In truth, I have wanted to portray many things, but never you. Maybe because you are mournful, and I am not bold. A physical depression enlightens the mind. It was welled within his heart, and he wept for it. Or at least, he tried to. An ember of sacred oak. The natives cling to his spirit. I contest the limits of a self portrait. How do I portray brutality? A rebel sister chorus. Touaregs of the open sea. Where in words is purification found? Addressing you, he recalled the occupying force of time and place. Lantern breakfast, desert prayer, window serenade. He devoted his thoughts to the romantic images of his past, but he had none. Euphoric ambivalence! His temple swelled with dirt. How much of this is smoking? Paintings of his are given for free. The catch? The image is free, and the characters within the paintings did not exist except on canvas. To redeem the artform. Galvanizing the public for an outburst. The story changes. Does it evolve? I am too smooth. What use is happiness, comfort? Pray for passion. Will it! There, we had the power of manifestation. Two edged canon bowed towards Mecca. I forgave him. He said he was nearing death, and every day he was dreaming what he once was. But he had been barely anything. A stain on the heritage of an entire culture. His time. How can I explain how wasteful I have been? The guy goes flying off his seat, torn from it like a cockroach, sprayed with killer’s tide. He was not witness to most crimes he envisioned. Corruption in a position of power, who isn’t? Meeting the right people. Isn’t that what they say? Kids to put through school. I could have been anybody. But he was not privy to such crimes, because they do not happen in the way it is generally thought of to happen, in that dissidents are raided in the night. Colluding! Diplomatic channels! The force of change. An epoch expands before it bursts. It was the same with his mind, his totality. How far deeper can a vortex grow? Fleas blemished with pesticides, swept under the rug, toasted in the hands of a cloaked remnant of the regime. The means of rule. Day’s duty. He tried living below the citadel, supposing it would be easier there, not to be noticed. To consult his practice. To speak outside the room. He had privileges, he acted well, and always said hello. Sharp with sounds. Feeds the hungry. Under his lamp, he set out to study the astrological charts of his heroes, but who they were he was still unsure.
The patron saint of the colony.
Herr. A painter. How many lives he shared! Sleeping with a rectangular mattress and his suitcase, on the streets of the port, washed out in the intersections that divide the city lines. Window cleaners. Bellboys. A hotel district and some theaters. A hammock in the middle of the road. He has all his things wrapped up. He saw his school. When he slept well, it would treat him differently, like they were glad to see him. Tired, he imagined a volcano laid the school to ash. Families, spread for duel. An apocalyptic condition he reserved for those elements most significant. We are all dead souls. I visit where I will visit soon. The storms come two or three times a year. No real danger. Think of literature as infrastructure. Material to use at a later time. Rubbing two feet together, racists, all of them. The brotherly races, the smell of their feet before a bath. Stale milk. Wet mop. I asked her to leave the room. One hand to his foreskin, he pulled a bottle of rum from a cabinet. A chair from another room. He could feel the leaves migrate in the air, but he never saw them. He had been holed up in a box. How surprising. Stomping dead leaves, he missed it. He felt abused. A new part of town, dog barking, fox meows. He kept flipping through the pages, the notebooks, diagrams, charts. A mystic, they could be sure. Climb the tower, sever a limb without the architecture of an army. Impressive. He would be remembered. A railroad turning back and forth. Everything colored turning grey. Three photographs from that time say it all. Swimming a channel moat, eluding the archers. Company tour in the first outrage. Everything you’ve heard is a lie. The museum inhabits our fears. How you engaged the subconscious! It was said, he was able to rotate around the complex without seeing any faces, without making himself heard, dodging the clocks. Running the way he came. Walking into nothingness. Injustice, his rights infringed, feeling like he was trapped, unable to move from the room. He could not see behind him, and he could not hear any noise. Space passed disappeared, compelled to an impassable silence. He missed the good nature of sound, the singing of some roosters. A bass drone. White noise. He heard nothing, and looking ahead, he felt himself shaking, the ground losing way to an electric current, the magnitude of a terrible wave, the weight of a ribbon. Imagine it, if you can. He was standing there, arms raised, grappling with a floor he felt was urging to fly, and danced upon the kite like a cripple. He moved on. Everywhere he looked was dark, and everywhere he had been, vanished. Somehow, he felt bright. But alas, it cannot be said that man wishes to live and die alone. He yearned for company. A creature, solemn at his heart’s speed. Nobody enters the room for friendship. He felt like he was punished, impressed into an archetypal cage. How big it is! Some minutes. Some hours. The time it takes for his feet to manage sinking, and recover. Fixed to the safety of a maternal womb, torn from the cunt forever. The first image he told me about was a boy, who had lost his legs to disease. Sacrificed by his own parents! A doctor, invited to inject the creature with a lethal tool. But he would return in another life, perfected, to the very same mother. Complicated, but interesting. Mystics subscribed to the belief, after a halo formed around the house, a cloud that doesn’t sway with day’s passing. The mother was frightened, and she blamed herself. She was frustrated. Violated! Bolted to the wall, vigilantly raped by the ordained. How much does one mother pay? She could not deviate from the truth. The curse flees the empty home. The only real danger was in the conduct of a woman, who had by then lost innumerable days to fragmented prayers, under the stewardship of an imagined halo. A gaseous catastrophe. He needed parameters set. Unlike his better half, raised in a home partial to the spiritual congress of the time, he had not sworn his faith to the outlines of his palms or the illustration of a coffee cup. He had not seen, week in and week out, village women cruise into his nest to dip their hands into a pot of iron shreds and boiling water, said to reveal the perpetrator of a curse. He could not think very clearly, and he did not know why he had been chosen, if indeed he had, to repudiate such a repugnant creature from his memory. Some men are born to tell a story. He wasn’t. He was hired to feed the vultures. He would cower, lie flaccid in the air, like the tail of a scorpion cut from its root, he would be victimized. He sought to enrich the feeling, seeking to pursue the path of judgment. The only door, slammed in his face. He could only remember the funerals held, the birthdays missed. A fruit, grown outside the port. A man, whose name cannot be spelled. Where does the water sink? He was insulted, told to saunter up and down an aisle that would not bend to his preference. Wait like a bear! You spill your heart and they sell it. Spoils for the coffers. He had been warned by history. Take lessons from your father. Two cuts of bread and a bowl of soup. Two cigarettes by the window. The nagging of a widow. Too young to reel his pension. Too old to drive. He never flinched, never said a fucking word. File an application. The good graces of the ministry! The medicine is always there. Whose is it? He tried the corrupt, he tried the honest. He asked around on the streets. He begged for it at night. A burial on the wasteland. He didn’t flinch. He accepted his life. He had nothing to show for it. Warden, knocking down the stairs. I hear these boots and I turn around. He would make his amends, in this life or the next. A man of the highest esteem. Owns half the town never steps foot in it. Held the port in his hands. Standing at the eyes of a wolf. He spits in his mouth and clears his throat. Do you know what BARA is? He looks about the room.
It can also be said, he held a bus ticket in his hand but it was of no use, he would not ride the bus, it had been discarded. For safety. Too many wheels on a bus. Too many pockets. He was spiritually blocked. Not void, he had spirit. He believed in the accumulation of certain fact to pronounce the soul. It was important to him. As important as living, leaving his home at the eleventh hour. Just before midnight, as the saying goes. He could have been such a good drunk. And his friends! He would have built them a back room, to stay in, to make a mess. A storefront to hold sessions, between curtains, something ordinary and clean. He cared about cleaning. Rooted in the soil. The soil does not sway her principle. Over the years, he had learned how to harness the energy required to venture into the past. But he was greatly envied, and he would pay. It must have been that child, horrored into their lives. Thankfully, it was aborted. The heir to his empire. He was upset. Naturally, he could have composed an empire for the sake of it. Three generations removed from him. All of it, some time ago. Several attempts would be made to engage him, he would ignore. He could not trust freely, without care. It would destroy him. I am already destroyed. Do you know what pain I sow? He sought help. An advisor. He came to a halt. He stopped while the others kept going. What others? He mentioned them in his first visit. He was happy to be inside. A triangle, a pyramid of protection. Something not malleable. Did he believe? He was human. Humans want to taste something before they chew it. To chew before falling in love, out of faith. He went home. When he said his goodbyes, he wanted to believe he was at the accomplishment of cleansing. The aura does not lose her elements. He could be revived. But he had not had revelation yet, it was too early. He had felt nearby, but always, when the universe chose to express herself through his channel, he hesitated. The quietest day of the calendar year. The morning before the morning of festival. Cretins. Monsters for the vessel state. Addicts! Now you might be wondering, what is the real trouble with his afflictions if he’s destined to be cut up and spooned, boiled and sold over the harbor, an infected agent tossed into the mixture. As a child, he used to stare at mold form over a vegetable, noting the movement it made when he did not know attention. For hours, with a magnifying glass. He rarely, if ever, saw any changes, but he felt them. Feeling changes of the exterior world. Senses design the palette. The palette replicates existential understanding. But by puberty, his physical form had deteriorated to such an extent, he was shriveled up entirely on one side, like the raisin of a grape. A deformity in his lips made them appear impressively large when knit together, blotched by blisters and erupting puss that would ride onto his neck if he forgot to clean. His knees bent and his legs, shriveled to the side, hemorrhaged in the air at an angle. The bone clearly showed, chewed through by a worsening infection. The molding of an individual spoils the bunch. Cut open and observed, the mixture itself, of spoiled and impressive leaves, could be designated characteristically, inherently, spoiled. His blood had entered the laboratory and endangered the supply. Merchants growing restless. Hassles of the sport. The guests left the way they came. He was standing at the windowsill, head between his hands. Dropping his palms to the shadow of an upraised balcony, he bent his neck towards the sky. The hardware of his obedience, compromised. I watched the light lose her touch. I must have stood there hours.
A story that conforms the majority of his guilt.
He was largely unaware of his breathing but breathing nonetheless. A fresh catch, tainted. Empty seats at every show. One of the two was an albino, completely void of pigmentation. The other, patched feebishly by his creator. A rare and strange mirror imaging, strung together like liberty’s bell. Profitable, no doubt. The body sits in the box atop a wooden stool. He drapes a nylon over the box. There, better. He cut a window, for people to have their peaks. Have you ever touched the solar plexus? It would cost him extra. Extra ribs can trouble a pregnancy, to death. It struck the province hard. Creatures, piled into a coatroom, waiting to be employed. He could not feed them. He had to tie their legs. What about when it’s cold? He decided to keep them warm. Use insisting chains. The sight, the smell, of wasted bodies, gave him great nostalgia. He was furious. He was desperate to offload everyone, if only to survive. Shortly after striking a deal, he realized he could employ more room if he cut off his feet. A fine drawing, marked with the most recent anatomical estimations of his size, permeated in his hands. The guild was losing, and they would be upset. What did he owe them? Exclusivity? Mindfulness? The rights to perform at the next festival! Naturally, he waited to rinse his thoughts at the feet of a citadel, and slowly cascade his way to shore. A ship of loyalists! He brought this news to his mind. He had to be careful, certain he would be charged with aiding and abetting if the rumor mill grew thicker. He had to promise something in return. The surplus of creatures posing no real advantage. This is life. But nevertheless, he had to continue a running flow of impressive inspiration. To steam roll the consortium of guilds. He has to offer a sacrifice, something understood with goodwill. His ankles? How often he used them to no effect. A microliquid used to authenticate dreams for the landmark stations. Rudimentary. Habituating actors to the lifestyle. A calming effect at first, yes, it can be smoked or snorted. Good for a limited time. Where everyone involved is required, and everyone required involved. A few pamphlets in his possession. Strong at the helm, he was pegged as the henchmen of an enterprise. There are elements I’m not willing to share. Underneath one of the pamphlets, he was taking a look at some other document more damaging to his reputation if fallen into the wrong hands. It detailed, in the minutest detail, the very steps he would take in the event of an attack on his life. Mutiny in the camp. He was prepared for it to come. To say the visitors are a trusting bunch is to mistake empathy for interrogation. The moment he stepped into the room he was under scrutiny. It was the first weakness he discovered and it would serve to bring his demise. He must have known something was beginning to change. At the wrong end of an indignant scheme against his life, and his provisions. The most moral army in the world! The toast of the town. Foreigners, hostile to the natives. Dementia blankets the brave, paints an imprisoned brush. An inhabitant crosses the security team’s blanket, fumes rampant in the air. He found the room of newborns and a kettle of tools. According to his testimony, a two inch drawing signifying the exact details of his erroneous incisions, miniscule except to the microscopic eye, he felt an obligation to the children he could not neglect, hurrying a set of pliers into his hands, and for every child, whose wailing in the darkness he mistook for fear, for being stationed in the dark, for lasting, he cut deep slabs into their eyes, digging a canal from one of the eyes to the other, channeling above the nose and through the eyebrow. To this day, this very drawing serves as a blueprint for the mirrored line of candles stretching the city on festival. But he did not stop there. From the canal, he uprooted one of the eyes, snipping at the optic nerve, loosening by way of assault and manually suctioned the other eye into a central position. All of them, onedimensional. He plastered the areas around the centered eye with buckets of detergent he claimed from storage. An environmentalist, it was all organically produced. You should have seen the kids, and the general public. Nurses, attending to their wounds, could do nothing to repair the damage, and in fact only made matters worse. But how to legitimize the wounds? He suffered for an idea. Had he been wrong? He did not think they had suffered much trauma, when compared. Help them? Better them than you, he thought, and they would have done the same. The pious fear reprisal, internally. He didn’t care. Raised by wolves. He had to survive in the wild. And to distinguish, the descent from an upraised theater. He decided it would be best for them to be discarded, communally, thrown into the sea, as the narrative goes. How many were offended! Suffering is natural. I suffer every day. For no reason whatsoever, he singled out an image to despise. He remembered, hating a boy in school simply for his holding a head of hair that lifted off his head in a very instinctive nature, curled like a beanstock crumbled over to its side. He was not one of them, he was another, and even to those he was close he was disliked for his hair. Like dogshit when dried, the color embarrassed by sunlight. At a certain time, he started to imagine that he did not necessarily have to exist for the very ideas that emerged to exist upon themselves. In the way something not willed is not possible. To strengthen his resolve, he intended to make use of a portrait. But he could not recover the image long enough to steer her towards end. He spent hours in the midst of illumination, huddled in the corridor of his dreams, hoping to elicit an emancipating door. He tried to recover the image, to save from his untimely death the accusation that he did not succeed. But he was unable, and immediately upon losing the image he found himself at the parameters of another story, linked very much to the image I’ve just told you about, and the image that returns the next image to this one.
A flood conceals a city under her grip.
The port dissolves.
The port rebuilds. As with each and every adventure into the arena of mythical disaster, a tribe rose from the ashes to announce themselves survived. Does anyone hear them? Does anyone listen? He stood at the image for some time and wondered why he was seeing into a portal of prior offenses if he could not physically march into his past. But he was incapable of wondering for too long, being capable of very few things, and so he continued to stare into the image. He heard, like the whirling dervish hears the flute whistle, the voice of a child scorned, advanced into his later years, speaking to him with firm and delicate choice of words. He tried to touch the image illuminated before his eyes but he was unable, and he was also unable to steer past the images he had of others watching him, of relatives crowded into a room, huddled around a screen, radiating in studying his moves, collecting their insults to hurl at his becoming face. He could not dismiss the image of a woman, younger than he was now but older than he was then when he could possibly have loved her, contort her face with disgust at his arriving to her door with a single rose in his hands. It was all he had been given! He never carried any flowers, and not for someone else but the deceased, whom he briefly visited. Who was this girl? Finally, he had stopped. He turned backwards. Nothing there. Like he should have expected, but so entrenched in his movements he did not think to rationalize his flowing moves. He stood there in an empty vacuum, wondering what to do next, when he heard again, the young voice grown, call to him from the façade of a distant room. Not a room like other rooms, braved with structural walls and beams, cornered in by adjoining rooms and forming a small part of the whole. The room was a visible incarnation of wind, that he could not visually make out but could ascertain the placement of by movements of the arm. Drawing himself nearer to the room, arriving at a place he assumed to be the door, assuming by great feeling within his groins that he was being pulled further into the ground, a sharp striking pain chewing at his stomach, for no apparent reason!, he lifted himself forward, wondering, if rather than marching, channeling, navigating the subconscious stream, he was guilty of suicide, committing himself to death. Had that been the plan? He figured, he would likely live a long and desperate life, full of longing and need, struggling to cope with the reality of living with an immense crater in the place of his heart. He and many others! He entered the room, but he was not where he thought he would be and so he slowed down, stopping altogether before moving again, until he heard footsteps and, suddenly, lifting his chin into the sky, he wailed. The first footsteps he heard since his journey began that he did not fear to be his own. He thought, I must be drawing close, but in his wailing he noticed, and this is likely where most lose their cool, that he could not hear the sound of his own voice, though he could still hear the echoes of the footsteps. His footsteps? The seeds of an ulterior vision, he heard a voice in the distance reach out to him, but it was not really a vision, and permit me for speaking as though I am informed, it was not even a voice. What he heard at that moment was, as mentioned before, the result of his hearing simultaneously the collision of two images, the one of the boy who raised a tribe after the flood, and the one of a girl who he had loved, who thought of him with disgust. He wondered, could it be that they were intact for the very purpose of closing their accounts, guided to an imaginary void that would serve as his arena? He did not think twice, turning like the coward of an occupying army. He ran with the intent of a lunatic.
The next image he told me about was more sincere.
He told me, he had been stranded after only just entering the landmark. He could not decipher any of the codes in his head, algorhythm’s of noted achievement, memorial voices that sprung together to enlist the propriety of an image. He was very humble in those days, and when he sprang to his feet with joy it was because he had realized where he had begun, and only from there could he continue further. Taking my first giant leap away from the shadows, I continued to where it was dark, thinking of things in a different way, for his own benefit, his survival. He still had the two images wrestling in his mind, but he could politely ask them to recede for the time being, which he did, by holding his fingers to his chin and moving on into the dark. Have you ever crossed the border? He had never, and he would not now. A mad trick. He was noticing the voices, sharpening themselves without the contrast of an image. But when he closed his eyes he was seeing with a different set of eyes, like he was holding a mystery to his face while becoming its contents instantaneously. At first, he was jolted. He tried to run, like the fool flees their shadow, like a spirit runs from its grave, only to return again in some other form, one or another lightbox. It had really only been a few minutes, the chapter in focus, but it felt like the span of a storm. Have you ever searched inside your mind? I took my first steps reluctantly. They came easier. He was relieved. But he still could not see past interpretation. The tail end of a good session. A makeshift football pitch. Threats to his life! A decent story, funny for those to whom a laugh is permissible. He had seen her turning a corner. Driven forward in a trolley. A ghetto trick. Fool through the disabled. Diversion. A mule. A thick round ball made of newspaper, cut real fine to hold clear edges. It landed right in her basket, the quorum carnage. He walked over to them to have a closer look, to apologize. He hadn’t meant to tell the truth. It seemed outdated. Bending her head, distressed. An abusive sight, for anyone. He laughed. He admitted, he was forced to feel sorry for the situation but it wasn’t in his hands. How many times he had said it! And the insults, streaming in. He looked at them, growing with confidence, with an air of disgust, so to say he was a little revolted by their voices and them being there, speaking outright, he was put off. He motioned ahead, explaining they had every right to keep going, a protest never ends, it quiets. Once the air has tasted revolt it cannot remain unchanged. The same goes for discrimination. He pointed along the fence, partly wired mostly concrete, separating two distinguishable halves of the same encampment. He directed their eyes to the gate, thinking they must have missed it, otherwise they would be found out, targeted by an array of flying saucers, kingpins. The most moral army in the world. Tears violently shed. An emboldened woman pushes through the crowd. He pointed again to the fence. There, for their protection. To protect the few freckles on her face from being stolen. Worse, from learning how to harness one similar to hers. He took her to the side, meaning to momentarily lift her discomfort. It was all he could do. Do you want to be a target? Watching behind the fence, the others took their turns harassing her poor image, wilting in his very hands. He told me, the only thing sold to them at that moment was the quality of his behavior. He said it again. Cheap in the morning, quiet at night. Losing everything to the collectors. He looked her dead in the eyes, spat into her mouth, hoping she would prefer to recall his insult rather than the insult of her captivity. It caused great disappointment among the masses. Each with a turn to rile until calmed again by a few. A hand reaches out to grab him, to practice the art of enslavement, nothing matters. But it quieted the crowd. He realized, she was one of theirs. A giving voice. I like you. Charitable. He was floored.
Finding a used condom on the beach. The painter was warned before they discovered he was involved. Caesura! A break in metrical verse. He sidestepped the original rhythm. Referring to his pages, another friend compared the poem to taking a good shit. He wanted it to be performed. To elect a sovereign for the sole purpose of reclusing fecal waste into the mouth. Perhaps he would enlist a spit, rope the prisoner, and roast. Like the old days, without the soap. It was important, for the duration of torture, that the victim not choke on the oncoming rush of feces loaded into their mouths. To do this, he had to put a funnel fan at the back of the throat, whereby the gag reflex, already weakened and unstable, would slide the feces from the tip of his mouth to the walls of his gums, to the back of the throat, and cream into the esophagus. It may have been possible to load two mouthfuls but he was not an expert. A tight budget, of course. The experiment was tested on lesser victims, provisions enlisted from seaside caves, and a network of underground tunnels, whose architecture was quite impressive, by the way. Most do not speak the language, so it is easy to communicate punishment. Arbitrarily speaking, that is. I spent the next few nights at the pace of a snail, maneuvering along my days as though I were cast ashore accidentally, relieved of habit, pressured into thirst. If his days were filled with so much silence, it makes sense to wonder, how did he spend his nights? Without food or shelter, it seems. He wrote letters. He paid relatives a visit. At their hands, a rat would be fed. He wasn’t. He could not accept company for his food, he was above it. He intended to starve alone. He let the evening brighten his chords. Sharing them with the world. Someone passing without equal skin. He cooled, leaving in his path what rats leave at the door. But to say he abandoned his condition would be lying. He did what he thought was right, he shared in the circumstance of others. See, the fruit of an enlightened winter, he let himself be guided by superstition. The door was never opened. He camped outside the room. Everyone in town, hospitable to his arrival. Guided by earing’s pull, shifting manic floors. He wept quietly. The precipice is sparse. The next morning, a visitor spoke about what he saw. As though he were among them. He tried not to look worried, sighing the score of a fairytale. What music! What fall! Steel knives, sewing voices. The anatomy might cause a moment’s cringe. He was beyond confident, redeeming an image of his youth, sworn loyalty sharpening the presence of the regime. An incision between the stifle and thigh. He cut a line of hair underneath the skin, carefully. He would have preferred to go straight through the rump but it might have shown. No timers. Randomness, luck. He snipped a bump of marrow at the hock, the size of a pin. He filled the vacuum with double tapered needles, laced with basic carcinogens. The general’s trick, a dose of the pox governed in the blankets. But it would occur, not in these conditions. He had to be careful not to infect his own tribe. Had he already infected them? He stopped, he wondered, what pain I sow, what business I counter. To incite shock onto the public. He knew, the first impulse would be very short, momentary shock, before rage and fear crept their tassels in. Finally, he was only really waiting for suspicion. With suspicion, he could expect reprisals. The desolation would spread. A port, already on her knees, sounding her last breath. Why did he want it? Settlers bottle their guilt in the nave. Sick, soiled skin. Lesions, the coat of arms dragging her weight over a turbulent line of bodies. It had all been a success. Markets. Funerals. Graduations. He told me, the best part was the growing rumors that some breeds were more likely to explode than others. Some went as far as to say the dogs were conspiring on their own. How uplifting! A difficult time for the innocent. Injuries, scrutinized. Blemishes, discovered with reprisal. Dogs, forced out of their homes. Herded into cages. Sheltering camps! Arbitrarily detained and executed. Indoctrinated shame. What had he done? Am I so capable? Dogs, learning of their status. He remembered, the ones who knew they were feared lost all humility. Mythical distress. Total chaos. A clatter rose from the other end of the room. Things taken for granted, agriculture. The eligible fit into an atrium. Seats raised onto planks at equal height, so that the first row is equal to the last, the endless rows between equal in dimension and spectacle. High enough to be discouraged from jumping. Vegetation, sprouting the skulls. Horticulture, making use of the useless. Most of them jumped, knowing they were deprived. He told me, they jumped before their knees were tied down.
An abscess in his heart.
Sitting to his left, he wondered, how many thoughts can a being collect? How many lifetimes? The others, notably distinguished in form, were tending to sleep. The body adapts. Time heals all wounds. Was he in the presence of time? He remembered, laughing, the youngest there is always the newest. Recovering from the medicine. Training his ears to hear. Paying attention. In that sleepless void, shaken between frames. Not spoken to by the nurses. He wasn’t handed any notes. Daydreaming, painting hospitals in pastel colors. What had happened to the schools? There must have been an ambush. The mark, on his arm. He slept most of the time. He never had visitors. Flowers and biscuit, fresh fruit, gone. But he had no visitors, not once, not even for patrol. By his looks, he had been there longer than anyone else. Surviving on temptation. Curiosity is a mistress. Who cleaned his sheets? He had lost feeling in his legs. He hadn’t moved from his spot. He looked closely in the mirror. He wore the same shoes. He saw himself, and each time he looked in his direction his figure grew, just barely, long enough to remember he had already noticed. Bitterness. Lost somewhere on the page. Do you want to know why they tried? A fresh set of teeth had been delivered, accounted for, it had to be in the books. An ironed stack of nails chiseled into pins. Canines made of copper. Molars made of bone. His bottom teeth had to be screwed into his face at an angle to refrain from the upper line, holding his jaw permanently open. His eyes, preying in the back. He realized he would not be discharged soon. A rash, untreated, spreads. His waist, colored with blisters. An elder statesman in the room. The penultimate spring. Was he beautiful? He was old, it had yet to be said. Midsummer air felt pure. Heatwave passed. Wind rolls leaves in the smog. Owls cooing. Hawks dipping for ration. The longest night of the year. He was the only one awake. The bent side of his legs. He pushed the covers over the bed, rolled up into a ball, taking his first steps onto the ground. Tin plates. Cans. He looked around, wondering if the others could tell he was adrift. Moving with disabled speed, he harnessed superstition. He was not disabled. Only, pulled from underneath, his appearance razed. Moonlight glow held his sight, tracking further into the room. It had been planned all along. He felt stung in his right thigh. Observing, everything seems fairly usual, only, slower speed. It can be said, he was visibly urged to proceed with twelve frames per second.
The wolf cries in the distance.
He hears the horns.
He had not been preparing for the midsummer stream all season. He was surprised, to find that his breathing resumed without hesitation, having passed to the unknown. Taking the air into his navel, letting go. A clatter rose from the other end of the room. The sleepers seemed to rise. He felt a louse between his ears. He was mistaken. The dark. In the immediate distance, not so far from where he stood, he understood the outlines of a moving form. Had he moved? Teeth, in the absence of enamel, choose a distinct sound. A hand falls onto his face. From the darkness, it seeped into his sight. Fingers, damp and lean, stretching the length of his skull. An absent thumb, a tidy curve where the nail was missed. A dark room, empty. The steady rate of declining figures. He rose up from his place. He had watched him, for an entire season from where he had been lying. His naked eyes swallowing the room. He touched him. He put his hands against his chest. He sat there, feeling the hairs against his skin. He felt lifeless, as though the spirit had been shed. His hand rose to his cheeks. He pulled his mouth open, his jaw dropping into his hands. He saw into the mouth. He put his thumb onto one of his lips. He remembered, the name of a face he had never been. He kissed the mouth. He told me, he had only wanted to know if he had been afraid. His palms, shaken. He felt his hand reach from the shadows, climbing onto his face. The other hand followed. He held him at both ears. A breath. He moaned. Darkness gave way to light. The room, overrun. Strike, onto his back. His number was called. He had no choice. What had he really achieved with his time? An opportunity shows, the wise must run for it on their knees. He took his decisions with a lot of thinking. Derail a bus, sure. Decimate a tower, why not. Assassinate a recognizable man, depends. It takes courage, expertise, things he wasn’t certain he possessed. Who could he rely on? What gives me the right! The first offer was outrageous. Incognito, the entire sting. Impossible. A pressure strainer, at least. A fluffer. He was the last coin, cherried on top. It didn’t matter how he felt, so long as the room expanded to his needs. And things were going well for him. He just revived the very reputation he was worried about losing. At the time, the idea took a momentous turn at the sighting of some dogs, trading their urine. He told me, the easiest way for us to reach our targets is to deploy the explosives in the least suspected way. Living bodies. Nitroglycerine, something well in abundance, on account of losing touch with the outside world, a raucous waterfront holding visitors away. How does one procure the plugs? He told me, I had the idea of packing inside a fever, but a fever has loose ends, the bacteria spreads too quickly. And to pull the wire, it was not certain he could manage to do it alone and survive. Dogs are equipped with responsible timing, and loyalty. The orchestration was simple. He had heard a rumor, of wild packs of dogs so disturbed by their condition, they were lunging over the bridge, one by one, sometimes in pairs. Several dogs, surviving their fated leap, returned again to the precipice, and dove, clearing out into the sea without a trace. Dogs, falling from the sky. Painters, taking their canvases and setting themselves under the bridge, said it was best suited to see from underneath, given the circumstances under the monument, clouds of fog masking the outward sea, a dog’s leap conforming only a shadow, a brief illumination of life. How long does a dog sit in the air? He had an idea. Those tending towards reason concluded there had been nothing luring the dogs. He figured, nostalgia lures the depraved, for the outgrowth of history shared together. Why don’t dogs fly? He remembered, clear blue cirrus sky, a dog hungry is a dog starved. The wealthy cherish their meals, the poor, count them. As for the prey, well. The dogs were remembered differently. Mad stricken, fatigued with conviction. He was not ashamed to have used them, or to hunt several bodies once the tests were confirmed. It seemed, the further he drifted into the void, the clearer the picture became, but he was not yet sure he had the tools for killing at such an explosive speed. He had to get the readings right before taking it on the fly, loosening the guard, whatever. A cowboy sells his equipment used, stationed, where else, but the harbor. Is it clearing up? He spent his nights hauling in the dead. The first few nights he wasn’t present. He lost some of his things, hassled by some drifters. A sad taste in his mouth. The dirtiest place in the world. A cunt, held up in the air, burnt ivory cold with brimstone fishing wire, wings fallen out, clitoris torn, nothing left with to feel. And how often he felt it! A pair of roughskins drinking cherry gold out of a flask. He didn’t want to send off alarms, hiding in a peculiar gait. His hands were filled. Eyebrows would be raised. The quarter wears a loose mouth. Clean cut barrel, set for the drill. A pistol, hadn’t been held in years. He camped outside a fence, nesting in the cool. It had been busy. He had more on his plate than anticipated. Dogs travel in herds. Sometimes, solitary, pick of the bunch. He had to find something that would be easy to find again. Specific breeds do the job better. A line of shrub. The hunt. The dog stops, sniffing a waft of sand near an unsteady manhole, roaches flee into her face. The dog freezes. Sneezing, she launches forward. A nose descends into the hole. He fired off a round. Easy, snap in the dewlap between shoulder and withers. Two stumbles, the price. Sobs over croaking breaths, sad story. The bitch fell to the ground. Different breeds have different troubles. The northern mutts were better trained. An eye for the exotic. Straight for the kill. Some could even tell the difference between a stray victim and a symbolic tool. He wondered, if so many of our steps are fed, how do we relinquish money. He thought, I found her in a pool of blood, soaked fur red. A deep stare, he wanted to light a cigarette, guarding against the wind. Remembering he had nothing to smoke, he relented to the image of a windowsill, aiming for his next victim. He kicks his heel into the sand, feeding her as he leaves. The last sobs of a dying mutt. He told me, I snipped off one of her feet and snuck it into my bag. To spread his tastes, he hinged on the collar of a steel fence. Caution. He pulled back the hammer, a term he learned in the wasteland. Does it belong to you? A wet breed stepped into his sight. Gravel road’s gallop, prancing onto a patch of grass. The dogs stuttered, abdomen, hit. See, how capable a sprawl of blood. He lay there a while, watching the image deteriorate until it glowed, finally, keeping close eye onto his catch. He remembered, the bodies were burned in the past to conceal their identities, set in flames over night before retreating. To the best of anyone’s memory, it can be said, the idea to boobytrap dogs was not borne of any genius, but a memory of those animals, burning their comrades in the presence of the enemy.
I might as well tell you.
I waited for it to stop raining. I walked out of the fire. A hike upstream. One port to the next. Quietly apace on the streets. Moist of the waterlog. Empty tracks. Trains that carry wait around until enough weight catches on to create enough force. Pushing away from the coast and onto the encampment. The old promenade of his country, arm in arm. He could never stray too far on the peninsula, obstacles and custom impeding his way. He could not be sure of what was really there, and what, if he had chosen, had been invited by his eyes. He had noticed the woman descend from the bus. Downstream, shepherds run loose from the bush. Herd cut loose from grazing. The hill drops. Plowing through weeds. He found her waiting outside for the bus. He walked out of the fire.
We danced all night.
He had been singing.
Out of the bushes, he watched him walk right into the city. The song ended. The paper is in his pocket. Everything that rises falls. It had been written down, documented, into the annals of the archive. Some had stopped for coffee, changing the plans. He told me, they could smell that he had stopped. The place is gone, my friends. And finally, the urge to blame himself! The beast who played both sides. He thought, do I pin this on him? There’s nothing left to play with. His shadow cast onto the wall. He stepped out. He did not run. It was peaceful. He stepped away. He remembered what she had told him.
Go with the sun.
Summer dried at prairie’s length receding the horizon. Rebel cries of a deserted forest. Autumn winds set on the city limits. How did you manage to do that, supplying shelter during the siege? He hadn’t drawn them yet, precluding his thinking with the rubbing of his feet. Both, actually, to amend for not walking upright. His hair was longer, his nose cut, one of his nostrils bigger than the other. He took a beating. Watching a parade from far off, obstructed by the machinery of a wall. He noticed, when he was looking at the seats, they had the prescribed names written on them, the letters in an alphabet he did not understand. Rubbing his feet together, he would stutter, and every few words he would twitch. Tense in the shoulders, he perches himself and yells. He thought he had been poisoned. Peeling, on his manhood. What smell! But he understood it could be undone, it had been another’s wrongdoing. He was being tested, for being alert. He had not yet possessed the enviable capacity to ignore his wellbeing. It was beyond him. I love my brother to death. Large bites, he kept rubbing his feet together, calling out names not present, names of victims tossed over the hurdle. He thought people were watching him, that he was important enough to be watched. He was being watched, repeating himself, considering every moment to its finest detail the moment it disappeared, incapable of dispensing with the past. He calls each of these moments, entrenched in the notion of present, detaching it from two contradictory halves, pistachios. He holds his fingers to his temple. Voices, stored helplessly in the chamber. Regrets foul the pool. Visions, at their own pace. He let them happen, playing a song he called sad, following it with melody and companion. At first he had difficulty playing, counting the pistachios backwards so as to succumb to his moods. Namely, a melancholy impressed upon his home. He wanted to know, before the decision could be seriously made, how many pistachios could be given, allotted for him to note, intertextualize and watch deteriorate, watering the plants, as they used to say. He has adapted the ritual, counting only the pistachios he is able to handle once handled, whereas he used to count downwards, having to keep in mind the number eaten and the number disappeared from the pot, shipped into the void. Can he keep count of all those in presence, illuminated to his form, what great lengths he travels to maintain sharp mind. To legitimize his rule, he surfaces with the idea to idolize the point of origin as he sees fit. Miles away, beyond the harbor of the peninsula, a sea of dust approaches. No head of hair more suited to react, he panics, choosing to disrupt the storm from encroaching upon his narrative.
The dread of scholarly inquisition.
The citizenry he maintains do not exist, and are guilty, on the basis of offering no benefit to the world at large. But it had fallen from his grasp. He avoids the eyes of a guard, yawning in his erect position. So fooled by vanity, he refuses to recognize the stationary guards watching over him have been drawn onto the wall. He looks one of the drawings in the eye, before taking his leave. Something is killing me but you can’t find it because it lives more in my life than you. Another pause. The air is slow in coming but it tastes fresh. Reality is an emanation of the imagination. Checked by exterior forces. The occupiers govern our physical mobility, but the soul is an authority onto itself. We are on the cusp! Embrace it! The younger siblings of his neighbors, still with smiles and cheers. On his walks in the upper corridors he would visit the old bastards of his club. In pursuit of retirement, in pursuit of old age. I pass them, stepping over their outstretched legs. He always wondered what they thought of him, so many years later, if they resented that he’d escaped the bounds. Why did he want it? They had never understood, to the fullest degree, why he chose to break from his bondage. Comfort, however terrible, is a blessing. Revolution is a vice. Did you abandon him? Already the past is farther away. He had not been abandoned, but, he had been left to his own devices. Would he emerge? He saved nobody but himself.
Solitary voices arming to shame us.
Fair sun! Onset of fall!
Pick B, slide E and G#.
Pick B, slide D# and A.
The other night, I watched two hummingbirds, hoping for a hero. I am not alone, even though I am at the bottom. There’s a pot of fire running, however cold. When the fire runs out, it’s over. Two camps, animals. The majority of its youth had been torn from their dispositions, tossed into a frenzied mix, of which they played an elemental part, not owing much to the whole. Discounting a continent for the mere pleasure of ignoring it. Twice the age of the muses! How does it sound back home in the original language? Do they remember me? Most of the people lose themselves in the gallery. The paintings are flawless, but they’re still obscure. He noted, the painter wanted to live in obscurity, but he could not design a temple that would suffice, to remain invisible while he was forced to flee. A nursery of traumas. What do you think he most fears? The itch between two of his toes. The rash growing on his upper loins. The inevitability of imprisonment. The color of his shit. He wore socks that changed color when people were not watching, so desperate to elicit a response. A reaction from the public. He wanted to be admired. At the least, mourned. To color his portrait onto the wall, before dismantling it. Hard knotted blows, two or three times a year. A wind that bulldozes through the port, evacuating the citizenry to more elevated villages in the mountains, and the settlers into the sea. I believe in flair.
A visceral reaction to the experience.
The natives of the sad little port, dismembered from the world, resorting to selling their feces as a means for survival, storing it for later use, freezing it when they had the chance. The only thing that grows. The only thing they could count on. He felt like he was carrying the keys, to unhinge a door that opened onto an immense crater hole, where nothing visible was living, and nothing living visible. The size of his pastoral landscape, embroiled in melancholy and nostalgia, was limited to the decrepit size of his port. The faces drifted into their places like a circus prepped to perform. He remembered, one of them was bruised from the face down. Boils cut out of his face, in their place bandages rotting green, sticking to his skin, pulverized by the heat, striving for an infection. He had mistaken a brush of pollen for larvae, excusing himself, for exhibiting such malicious discontent at the image. Bandages, seeped into the face to grow their roots. Wayward nymphs, strangers whose eyes were too caught in perdition to notice their captivity. A mixing bowl, firing solute elements to mold wasted skin, turning a translucent color, and when left out to dry, like a roll of cheese buried, the skin would link to the diameter of a thread, and so was easily cut from a running spool.
Let me describe to you the room.
A mind vehicle, the room really a thread. The aerial lightshifts give the impression one is on a ship, cast away at sea. The boxes disappear for a moment because I think too long. Nothing imaginable but the obscure distance propelling me towards you. Who are my neighbors? What do others do? He told me, I never answered him, guiding attention to his hands moving upon a rotational axis while his feet, side stepping under an aimless sky, his only friend, a cockroach. He was the only one to perceive the critter. Maybe, it was not actually a cockroach he was killing, visited rarely these days by vermin. He could possibly have been the result of a twitch, his movements superseding the accounts of his eyes. In the absence of stable memory, the mind initiates a surge of fabricated truths to govern the explosive recesses of the subconscious mind. The visitors to the rooms were always deceived into believing themselves the product of austere consumption. But it was their presence that was most highly consumed. Clowns, hired from the contours of an intelligentsia apparatus to entertain, fetishizing monkeys travelling the axis of a mindscape. The images were meant to haunt the very catalyst for the image. I will remember describing it to you in a more formal way, where I chalk the figure of a tangerine on highway rides over the charcoal sea. That was the very crux of it, how he was able to feel, finding himself in the present tense describing and in the future tense described. Swept pale by a trail of easterlies crashing the homeward banks. The image stole his rhythm. Unaccounted for, he stepped into a majestic painting, brushing his injured toes against the molecular earth. Are we dancing? The song is in my head. The melody on my arm. That was how he spent the summer. That was how he dared dawn.
A hummingbird flapping wasted wings!
An encampment to endure.
Because they refuse to end I want them. I choose to describe you as best I can. A louse minute, hunter’s jam. The keeper leaves with his keys but he is kind enough to whisper. Under the darkness of shading, cowered in the room, he had only one question and its accomplice. But he disappears. He was forced to descend the spiral in a hurry, expecting to find his hands tatters down. As he climbed, a barrier must have unleashed. Crosseyed, he had trouble seeing into his hands. Who else is in the room? Migrating insects flood towards his feet. Sea of roaches! A ventriloquist yearns, showering with a hose near a standing cliff, overlooking our great fall. A likeliness of you, suspicious. He found his way around the room. She removes her blouse. Scribbles of motivation prick into his pages. He no longer wanted to write anything unless it was perfectly clear, to audience and spectator alike, he would breed the words on their likeliness to images he had forgotten. He mentioned, everything was given to me by a stranger. Like I have been napping in a lazy afternoon, hazed by smoke and passing corpses, they befit a man standing the penultimate stage of two polar opposites mired in the breast. Do you remember, the boys near bowery, lathering themselves in the acrid droppings of an industrial island sky? Haven’t we had enough? I must have been worthy of love, at that time. He falls some steps to a concrete encampment, a doing that causes him to choke, relieving himself in the blistered basin of a nightmare, he loses her figment drawn away, stolen from his canvas.
Leaving the brute alone.
I surrender myself to you.
What is voice without you bridging my steer? We were married in an age of plunder and two towers of our gloom. He told me, it is conceivable I damage myself by damaging you. The others watch with beaded eyes but his strike falls steps asunder. A man, fastening papers in his hands, storming the stage of our encounter. He carries deed, of belonging, residence he’s waited winters to allure, camped by the azure of impassioned resignation that befell the tribe. He climbs the concrete jungle of home, mating thistles at the urban squalor, lifts petticoats above the knees. The eternal you is not present, feeding light into the arms of someone’s soul. Why not me! I refuse to grieve or bereave him. Have you tasted the perfume? He calls the squalor his home, paranoid. The route to envy is aggrieved. Deeds to an outlasting submission. He evolved steadily into what he really was. Indistinguishable from the rest. A ghost. He sat down, but recognizing his legs to drift from ground’s cavity he urged himself forward again. It would have been useful to remember hiking the pig’s crater without boots but he couldn’t see past captivity. Often, the strengths visitors hold outside the grounds are what leave them most vulnerable to their condition. A condition that is not cheap, and for the many who fall into its grip, it is not characterized by liberty, but the spiraling oppression of a labyrinth. Grooming the seeds of sugar cane in an unsightly room, gleaming from the impression of his stroke. He wanted for her lips. Could he beg for it, like a whore? He held the muse in captivity, though he only held what is held after the acknowledgment he was being held in variable prisms for his own good and torture. The prisms let him loose with courteous gain, leaving him sulking when his shutters ended. My presence will escape the stage. He was vulnerable, his presence, negotiable. Elements of respect. What do you take pride in? I fear everything. He fears regretting, relying on the utility of rest. And to end, knowing we have begun. The skyline after a fight. Search calls at the border. I look over to the corner, gifted me by a trail of light. Buckets of matter preparing to unwind. The difference in our days is the speed in which we make decisions. Courier by boat, traveling on horseback, sleeping in a cave, sheltering from the cold. A prince declares his war. The courier flees. The results are rigged. Tasting the expenses of a terror machine. Marry the mystics to the sciences, amplifiers towering over the public. The cures of the guild! Bass, hungers the heart. What are you in the mood for? He told me, I was sitting inside my room when a hawk flew in through the open window, scaled the halls and left. Later, investigating the composition of the bird, he discovered it was not indigenous to the land, relenting, I know she is a messenger from abroad. He was wise to the message, and to the cancer eating away the youth. A village sage, commanding the respect of a senate elderly, decorated in the aura of city counsel, trounced and bedridden, disguised into a mannequin and discarded. It is said, sometime after dark, after workers take their leave from mining the tunnels, a traveler enters the city dwelling delivering pamphlets, medication and perfume. He sells justly, taking loans where the want is honest. Sometimes, he delivers citizenship rights for auction, and the people stalking their days for a trip into the room watch closely, biding time before pouncing. I want to tell them, the sage sells perfume, but for the soul.
Arriving on account of a great flood.
His former ward frozen over. Coupled with drought, he claimed to have seen early signs of marine life repopulating the waters when saving refugees off submerging banks. A degree of the mind. He let his legs carry him overseas. He told me, there were thousands, fishing boats going back and forth carrying five and a captain, but those are the registered numbers. It’s more likely, the boats carried more than fifty, piled atop one another like sardines. Those who don’t sink tend to perish from asphyxiation. The pressure gives. The continuum moves. He was known to sight a swordfish under moonlight, brandishing her weapons with audacious air. He could not pledge loyalty when it was not in his possession. The treasonous, and we know this from letters safeguarded in libraries, were brought into provincial courts and asked to repeal or discard their honor, to be spared execution. In his time, he noted, there had been wide enthusiasm for the rule of law.
The inadequacy of sorrow.
He witnessed, two identical images of similar vein, beheadings in a residential compound. You know, primitive musical theory consisted of zero notes. You have to take control of the images from the start. It was spoken in the first days of the port that barriers erected along the shore were installed by acrobats employing spider’s silk tradition, a technique whereby the limbs of an ascendant dancer are spun to construct a wall. The final solution. Nothing grows but the entropy of a dystopic sage. Falsifying the accounts at his disposal, he tried to pen the testimony as best he could, prescribing to an image he had of departure. Exodus. An industrious construction of labor. He remembers that night with care. The curling clarinet, up against the bridge rails. Tasting the port’s assorted spread. The first stalwarts of the evening crawl. Memories are a weight possession.
Here is the story of two jasmines and their spleen.
I was given empty pamphlets and told to write a book. Memorandums of concessions. The apartheid dispensary oversees the return of all our treasures. He sat in the confines of the room, but he never served his punishment. I told a toothpick philosopher where I was going in order to be freed. Three cheers for the moral army. I ate lisper’s solo bread. Did you start out here? Over the ridge, where the poison grows. I learned to neutralize the bombs. The princely figure touches the victims. The prophet fools built railways of anise, mourning the incumbent dead, cremating those not buried. A large enclosure on the floor. The pages are in her chest. A wooden casket, two cylinder closing, rusted doors. How many pages made it in the end? He grumbles, the darkest chapter of our lives. He had not changed his clothes in days, owing his filth to the indescribable feeling that he would, at the very instant of putting on a new set of clothes, dirty them immediately. Chores, in the desert, are scarce. Kind quarantine! Lift the blockade! A man offers his flask. Is it time already? Sleep, to forget the smell, until someone breathes it in your face. The ageless, coalesced in silence. He appealed to the force of his sermon, meet me in the mudhouse province to cascade the worried homes. He noted, the homes sit like worried intestinal tombs, I wish I had designed them myself, to take the credit.
The howl spreads into the empty quarter.
Vomit parched in the corner.
He paints a favorable image of himself in his mind, forced to abide by his loneliness. Following the stability of the image, usually consuming a few seconds of his cherished time, he imagines himself seated, exactly where he is the moment he begins the process. At that moment, viewing himself from a tilted angle, as though he were viewing himself from an ascendant plane, looking down on his being, he imagines a pistachio in his hand. When the image of the pistachio is clear, and this also takes only a few seconds, he imagines himself opening the pistachio. Some are harder than others to open. Others require a certain technique, a function of the nails, and both of his thumbs. One thumb, usually the right, will dip lower than the other, turning the nut away an angle from the center, so the pistachio is at an earthlike tilt. He holds the uppermost pole with his thumb, and pulls away from the nut with the other thumb. When the pistachio is cracked, he falls into a state of relief. Though, he can become visibly upset when the pistachio cracks only the tip of the loosening shell, and he can see the pistachio seed inside, but because of its territorial integrity is unable to devour it.
The colony set between two rivers.
He would not be silenced, rallying storms outside the borders. I can build anything. The secrets are out. My burden is our autonomy. I won’t rest until it’s ours.
Tombs erect in the city square.
Markings that fail in humility.
The tension that unwinds from an archer’s grip. There are those who believe within the tombs are written records of all those who have perished at the expense of the settlements. The progressive enchantment of a collective. The sculptor amends history. He noted, the very same sculptor had witnessed two towers he recorded fall, each with a sign of relief. Liquidating an asset. A symbolic victory. He had not thought with an architectural eye until leaving home, forced at the hands of an intruder. An acute love for things quaint. Lists of all the things quickening the feeling he was alive. Photographs that shoulder the burden of suffering. He told me, I toured random sites, humbled by an eroding quality, forgotten by their makers to rotate mediocre’s end. He studied the concussion of concrete onto man’s able hands. I am not an architect. I walk through the quarter that used to shield our homes, now, a faint walk among the vacuum. Lists buried in the wasteland. Of things that had not been heard, things only heard when removed from the flight of sound, sounds not heard when solitary but erupting only as part of the whole. Noises of the well. The woodwind’s song. The creasing of a ship upon the waves. At the end of my walk there is the wasteland, and at the wasteland gates stands a butcher. What sound he makes! He climbs the wasteland peak every night, descending in the morning with fresh provisions. He binds the legs in pairs, blindfolds the captives, and forms a quiet incision from one end of the throat to the other. Vanguard, for the settlers. Do I feel guilty? I eat my meat daily. I like it with my wine. The truth is, he had never suffered the cause of regret, fumbling the dagger, hardening the eyes. That which is killed is deserving. Sculpting prophecies for the benefit of feeding an army. Wasn’t it taken by force? Of those within the harbor walls whose loyalty remained unquestioned. He never failed to remind his clients, the goodwill shown in adopting a mild approach to the rising natives. The insect poses no danger, only the virus of identity. He told me, there is a general feeling of animosity to being stopped at a checkpoint, especially since they are routinely violent. The women are put to sleep, cut into the ankle to be strung in the morning.
The very pages.
The lifting of the plank.
At the bottom of the complex is a lobby, used for those who wander towards the exit not knowing where they’ve come but their unconscious retaining the good nature of flight. Filling stations, in and out. Screens, the size of a medium canvas, depicting finite versions of the exact same moment simultaneously. Depending on the trajectory of the eye following the image, the closer the relationship between the image speed of projection and the beating of the heart. Landmines for the vulnerable. Agents under the spell of the stations. The decaying hours of a lifetime within the confines of the labyrinth. Surrounded by the omnipresence of the collective unconscious, at will. The labyrinth can be used for therapy. As the labyrinth appears differently to different viewers, individuals mistake the resulting experience for an experience in the material world, shared by others. What is more, there are conflicting reports within segments of the population who claim the stations act as mediums to channel spirits from one life to the next. If true, it neglects the belief the complex exists only in the imagination.
Leaving on solstice.
The partial outlines of a manuscript.
The lifespan of a louse.
The first characters he introduced were not artisans themselves, but they were nauseatingly self assured. Hoping for a better life, trusted in their circles. He could not decide if he trusted the context so far, as long as they were there. But then it happened that he discovered story within the context of nonstory. When I looked up they were gone. The audience comes to see you hang. Busy bees running like elves. Barefoot on deck. Losing a nail on the foot. Waiting for someone outside an airport. He would never live to experience such fruits of nature. Their doping was on his hands. Wasting like wolves in a drought. Hands of the marionette. He had those hands, so if you are wondering how he handled the memory, imagine metal chains on his arms and him leading the way. Like bats run to a cave, spiders who silk their nests for the oncoming feast. He remembered, standing beneath an abandoned railway, a hand reemerged from the cracks of a building, a woman’s blouse unbuttoned by the outgrowth of a single finger. Condoms found used more than once by different people. They informed his thoughts with their pains, but when they left, his thoughts were not empty. He had his consignment, burning fragments of authority that riot a spectator from their seat. I am the riot.
The ceremony consumes the collective.
A fiddler cleans house of his instruments for the veneer of peace. Is it so inconceivable that in his stay I grew fond of his presence and in his departure I am alone? His companion holds him by the arm, grave friendship in his eyes. A victim of incarceration, he walks away. Do you think she’s coming? He enters the room, scolding the day’s work. Drips under the eyes, laces on his hands, still life portraits above his head to conceal the image of his face, hundreds of pages of the manuscript hanging by the letter, an illusion that draws the eyes away from the camera. A riot follows the third movement. He masterminds the inferno, emerging from the bushes.
The writer adorns the peacock’s cloak.
I was fed amber, spending my days digging.
The filling of his feet in the water, the echo of his steps along the temple floor. As he nears the door, he is dispersed by an array of birds in flight. He fell into their shadow, wind striking the shattered windowpanes. It was not until he returned that he could smell the scent of his hair. Did you recognize his voice? He realized, dropping into the shadow of the room, that the movements of his eyes were not dictated by his physical movements, standing in the same position, paralyzed. The image can be seen as paralyzing as the experience of the image. The door closed. The scenes change, the water filters from his veins. A roasted sparrow, dipped in molasses. Literature fools. The final pages turn. Where are we but where we were before? Mother’s nothing nest, I was raised by wolves. Kerosene lifts my blood. Returning home, I run in circles, easing across pastures marred by our spoils. I am still a part of you, beating twenty four frames per second, amassing an image screened across the landscape of our muted heritage. I watched you, and finally walked over under the sculpted square, photographing the mob breaking its fast. Near the drifter houses, a parade of believers lie against the stone, sharing in the alchemy of faith. Do you think we’ll go back? Isn’t it where we belong? I see us thrust beyond surmise, hopeless to tame the encompassing mist. Resigned to the tragedy of displacement. Do you recognize his voice? He inches forward. When he spoke, I thought of your warning in that last letter, where you named my bouts of sanity the gravest loss of your life. He thought to himself, I should be out of here by now. Regressing the sight of childhood. The staircase is empty. Because he had traveled the womb, he was promised entrance, on the condition he retained his anonymity. The smell of anise scampers through the audience. The keepers pass a shovel along. The shovel plunges into the dirt, sounding against the sediment. Once, for each hand. The others leave. Memories confided together. If I continue like this I force nothing. Weepers hired for a grave. The last years of his being proved cruel. He rose from the empty quarter. There, I am found, masked in charades of liberty, consuming the wines of our treason.
The paintings are known to inhibit empathy.
Did she string two stones for my saving?
The answer lies between two beginnings. A wound that scabs immediately. On a very special day, the tomb is lit and the children raised to the mantel. As a sacrifice to the diaspora, they are dropped, hurled in all directions from the capacities of a fiery rod. The shadow of a monolith. The nature of the walk has always been contested. He reported, many report the strange hand of a trickster overcoming them. Tremors of the joints. The sensation of sudden pricks in the vertebrae. Yellow filament clouding of the retina. Tension in the hands and feet. Restricted breathing. Hot flashes. Motor functions recover after the initial seven minutes. His eyes are closed. Lines that map the thought of each visitor. He piled us into a book. The memory of a few chords. Sitting in the presence of a sage. A partition segregates the whole. Where do I exist in a darkened space? He wondered, do I see beyond these eyes? The glare of youth insists apathy. He spoke with the patience of a nightingale, always in love. The port of eviction. The dues of parents haunting. The face of a girl in a passing crowd. He told me, I have reason to believe he is not still alive. The hunch of his back. A moon at the turn of October. He wrote me, the time I dedicated to ambush him, I would imagine myself in a frenzy chasing a figure between tightly knit alleys under the cover of moonlight, only to wake suddenly and find myself in the thick of forest chasing only a shadow. He concluded, in my first viewing of BARA I realized something I had not realized before. Something mentioned about the palette. Did you know, he was a victim of great anxiety? A sign on his door, the total angst perimeter. The second movement, the stars align. Letters, under the floor. The strange footprints. On the occasion of his dying, he was expected to return again to read passages out loud and laugh at them. I sing Joseph’s verse, hoping to taste your gender. Give me everything, I will return it, having proven I am capable of attaining but unwilling to posses. Freedom is for the dispossessed, but they are not wise to it.
The machine of discord wears impetus.
A cartoonist draws BARA with oil.
I march barefoot in spring.
I’m at the end of my game man. I watch them walk the plank. She joins the others on the bus. Sleeping in the native’s park. He stands before her headstone. Not all dreams, but some, are messages. He was an acrobat, a painter of sighs. He walked. He heard a voice he recognized call his name. It was not true. Nobody knew his name. He had come a long way to return where he had begun. The endings surged and seized hold of him. He was alive. The boy was at last alive.
The passing of another year.
The next morning sang the wail of a new beginning, ringing ashes in the rain. The jester must have been watching, lurking as he does.
Let anchor down!
I walk across the water barefoot. The imprints plastered on the wall. An erotic gesture by the painter, the piling of needles masking the illusion of form. I bite the shell of a snail, pulse into her skin, for you. The clans, cyphers in abnormal robes. Have you met the mystics? I’ve been watching you. As he rose to leave, he wounded a stationary guard, elbowing him in the gut. Leaving the gallery, I noticed her across the street, watching me. Have you made your amends? You should be afraid. Hesitant to continue, detained in a state of ambiguity, he felt himself moving in growing circles. The creature chosen to depict the painting is muted and lifeless. He reaches the entrance when a voice steps in his way. Will you stay in the city? He knew he was being watched. A shipment arrives off the port. Officers patrol the borders. Did I ever tell you of the time I watched a child dancing barefoot from an adjacent window? The moment passes in silence. He says nothing, continues walking. Passing the ghosts. I push through the crowd. The theater, in chains. What were your intentions? Tell me about my peers. He sighs, digressing through latitudes of space. He turned away, back to his mortar on the horizon. His eyes centered on a messy canvas. A hint of soot painted onto his face. The port is empty. Have you passed under the bridge? He watches over the silence near the dome. He napped for a while, lying naked against the pavement. A prelude, seasonal passing of pilgrimage. Betrayals of revolt. Seers caught in rapture. He had believed change was imminent, hoping to salvage a republic never existed but in the poetry of his nostalgic mind. He turns generously, completing an orbit in my eyes. The stranger drifting from hindsight. Brittle instruments buried at the bend, where they had been left for him to notice. The lute, escorting his burden. It’s the ones you know will leave you take a beating from. Natives lose the dance. I nap on a bench. A light drizzle falls. Has anything changed? The room has been like this for years. An eroding writer’s desk. My stomach is empty. You left, because of what happened. He remembered, when he had returned, I had already left. He had forgotten what had been said, trying as best he could not to mention the dream. The accomplice calls. Night buses carry over the mountains, the patients drifting into a hollow sleep. He tried for a forward step, something to intimate his progress. Backwards along the streets. Past the abandoned temples. The empty parks. An alley line of mudhouses near the water. The window opens. I remember my first steps in an estranged past. Bodies carved open, nailed onto the walls. A place to disappear. The hall is empty. A careful figure approaches, clothed in a layer of blankets. He said he would be off, that he had somewhere else to go. Are you a man of virtue? The figure rests against the doorframe. A key from the nightstand locks the door. He enters the establishment from the rear, climbing a wire gate. Stiff hands withdraw the blinds. I have gifts. Burning incense. He removed himself into her mouth.
The innocent, under his feet. The voices, over the threshold. Have you seen them want? They are always wanting.
The fringes of existence.
You are a teacher.
He stops, lunging to hold a drifter by the arm, but the image escapes him, the faint outline of a passer easing away. The faces disappearing into the empty halls. The patchwork etched on wood. He wants to show you the room. He predicted, footsteps gracing the water. I walk onto the bridge. The end blinded in surgical mist. He wondered, is it true about the pamphlets? He reached into his pocket, letting his hand sit there some time. The seagulls cry. The crows taunt. How many waters have we passed? Caves dug beneath the façade of an overlying boardwalk. Watered stone. Lighthouse, in the distance. You pass under the tiled roof. The smell of freshly baked bread. He hung his legs over the tarnished rails, his feet drenched in the open air. The voice of our companion, spoken over the rust of passing smoke into his lungs. The stare of the shaman’s warning. The eradication of the natives. I act alone. He had remained curious, holding his eyes on his lower left arm, resting in the pocket of his shirt. He pulled his hands from the jacket, stacks of papers bound together finally revealed. He hands me the book. He accepted the book into his hands, one arm busy with the exchange. Heaviness, having born it down all these years. I open the notebook. It is empty. Time’s virtual halt, it was not until he rose to address the mirage that he spoke again. He had experience enough of the medicine to know he had moved on. The journey is relentless. The ranks of revolt. The crumbs of a dream. Do you want that? People gather in the square. The imaginary, in motion. The blessed, where they were left. Whirling orbits. He decided it would be best to trade places. The shape of the keys. The reflection of the light. I want to paint the corners of your lips, but it has been too long. He had trouble identifying with images he did not witness first hand. How could he dialect into verse things outside the program of his eyes? He wanted to leave the room, but he knew he would be followed some moments later. He reached into his pouch, searching for an apothecary’s jewel to distil into his drink. A stack of broken shelves. Canned foodstuffs. Cats bathed in a litter. He nudges past a curtain, shying away into the dark. I enter a supply room, filled with ideas unopened. A trail of light leads his eyes to a window, draped over the opening of a wooden door. He studies the room.
Candles laid flat on the windowsill.
Lying on the floor, waiting for you.
Playing the fool. Molesting the pupil. He nods his head, ignoring the qualification emerging that he had let slip his mind. Does he suffer his own designs? Revelation is a dying sport. He had witnessed the unnatural sacrifice their young, grown cold where other hearts would bend. He had become an inconsequential sovereign to his mind. The windows, present to strange mysteries. On the fringes of poverty he felt disowned. Walking further to the constructs of his memory. Nostalgic to the generation of his father. His eyes grave, he turned towards the mirror left enchanting the room. In my life, certain cities reached such heights the mere mention of their name could lift a populace. He told me, certain cities I watched fall. I sit in wonder at the faces, passing along the screens without the aid of remorse. He turned to the stance he had taken before, preparing his rites for the mystics. The corridor is known to be long. He never turned around, disappearing into the distance. The vein of distaste in his mouth. He notices commotion at the entrance. Remember when you wrote me, you were on the cusp of revelation? He tilted his words, to spare his being mediocre, but more, honored to pass the walls discreetly, under the microscope of war. Distractions, from the room that is a mirror, the walk that does not move. By becoming BARA, BARA is nothing. Centered where everything is nothing, he felt nothing combine to resemble an absolutist whole. When I speak, whole murders of crows bow to my voice. He saw the turn where the ferries would harbor. Later, when we love, take as long as you need to kiss me, I will make it last.
Contemporaries flee to tend disorder.
Horns sound the morning sun.
I remove you from my thoughts, play a song in dedication. Free passage. The overcoat of terror. Is there an innocent part of me still? His aged hand leading the way, he leads me through the rooms. A guide sits still at the foot of the mountain. He waves me away. The face arrives, resemblance of you. She walks into the ornament room. Wiping her feet at the fountain. He could outrun the beast, but he must have known the terrain, realizing a serious fall might leave him blinded. An elderly arrived at his side, carrying a paddle. He takes the paddle into his hands, setting it against the woodwork of the boat, taking his seat on the rear. He unfastens his shoes, removes his coat. He twitches his toes, easing them into the sand. The elderly speaks coarsely in his native tongue. Directing words at an emptiness. There will be a storm tonight. I shouldn’t want you to be out there alone.
The pupil’s cabin.
Wounded in the woods.
He lay there, immersed in the earth. Beside his body, a fire refused to light. It had been lit sometime before. Someone had been there. Something. He departed his body, viewing it as an extraordinary vessel distant from his arms. The surrounding wilderness, and the fire. As he departed his solitary form, rising in alternate conception, he enjoyed hovering over the vessel, seeing from above the matter he had consumed. He remembered, I drifted further and further away from the subject. He continued to rise, seeing with great precision, an expansion manifest around his departed form. His figment on the expanding zenith. A call echoes for the stranger. He turned to me on his way, and then he was gone. The clouds are gathering. Unmoved, gathering his footprints. The feeling had passed. He did not turn towards the pier, well and away at sea.
Dunes crawling under a locust forest.
I tell you, we are in danger.
He walks over to a bowl of ice water. He digs his hands into the ice, raising a handful to his face. He told me, I was caught, stunned, by the arrival of a troupe hoisting an effigy on their backs, and of whom? I heard the engraving of a pipe chorus and I wondered, why aren’t you with me, serving submissive lives in a temple of worship? Are we better off? I rest my lips above your eyes. I kiss the creases of your skin. She burned instantaneously, lacking the notice of a crowd. The plank sunk into the fire, pitted into the depths. Are you relieved? He asked me, are you here for the parade? He rose to approach her, forced by his unavailing desire to ferment his seed under her fabric. A vision that smokes from a distant shelter. At that moment, he noted, starlight conjuring the landscape, watching the pass, discord for an elder eye. He dismissed the idea, comparing the bread given to him by a beggar to the gutted whip of her paddle. It was like watching her ballet, floating atop the ice. Something must have happened then but he wasn’t sure. He told me, the poet refuses to examine the entirety without subjecting himself to the whole. Isn’t that the dilemma we face, chiseling snippets of a time to reflect narrative in and of itself? Detailing through subtraction. The common thread to which he subscribed postulated in no uncertain terms that the poetry which is only modern, in and of the now, does not sustain through time but diminishes, reflected in the absence of tradition for the pervert and over simplification of contemporary circumstance. This, he told me, is the poetry of death. And the tragedy unfolds as such poetry ascends in the public eye and passes as living truth. He wondered, where did I steal that from? Living truth. Validation the public affords those who have made it, as they say, squandered past the contempt of their dreams. Early, youthful aspirations forgotten. Speaking exclusively to his contemporaries he begged me, come closer, I carry a broken heart.
Sand gives beneath the feet.
Heretics milk the night.
The usher asks me to pass.
Expected to seek refuge in the usual conduct of his neighbors, he walked away, in his trail smirking oaths of loyalty and resistance, like sunflowers passing between hands, he spat at them. An image depressed from the negatives, honoring the lone dancer pirouette a string of bitonal chords for the pleasure of existing. Wandering wounded silver, overstepping familial boundaries etched in stone. He was lost, curled under a thicket of sagebrush, knotting chimes of her sleeping pressed against his icy chest. I am away from the wilderness. The memory, sutured in my thoughts. The quiet of the day, unsettled. He passes through an empty crowd. Turning the peninsula where the horizon hangs off an imaginary cliff. Several documents, revered in the tradition of the natives, note freely that the expanse is immeasurable. Rooms that extend beyond the physics of their nature. Light that seeps through walls. The mechanism keeps count of visitors. He told me, I would have heard if she’d gone off into the woods. I saw her that day, after you left. You thought the mystery died, and so you fled. Territorial dispute, over his soul. You should leave here, to the mountains. Write someplace else. The uniform crowd, drunk with sedition. He decided to lose the game, accepting the marching orders from an elder statesman. Sacrificing most of his tools. Savoring her voice. The image continues down the road.
Caricatures of a militant age.
Actors, like myself.
The voice of a director seeps into the light. Toward cleansing, the finger flute rings. I ease away from the camp in mourning. He takes a look at the surroundings, drawing in his breath. She stands in an adjacent window, underwatched. He senses her. Am I really there? I tell the best of them, we are treasures, conforming to sip our lies. He chose to be the type to end things, to be deliberate, intense, even in a state of desperation. Lengthening his steps, racing towards the prize. The ascetic fool passing through captivity. It was said, then, that he’d had no guilt to contend with, but would he, if he’d ordained torture in some other life, if he’d been destructive. Onwards, a hologram of this story permeates to be found, myriad soul mirroring his sought suffering asylum. Evading the melody of war he felt destined to march home. The architect is an artist, he thought, look what pain he sows!
I visit my brother’s keeper.
We are a leap from my kiss.
He walked now along the deserted harbor caught between two bridges, two ends of a similar tribe. He thought of days past, greeting morning merchants hosting wagons of coffee and porridge corn. It heals a man to regret what he has forgotten. And it felt good to be alone, urged towards the shore to meet the de facto breeze. A crumbling lighthouse pierces the azure. He would be waiting at that pier, rising under an autumn shower feeling an indistinguishable part of the whole. and what about you, she asked him, have you never loved? Though he refused to admit, the season he had only just encountered did great damage to his reputation, and his esteem. Accusations against the moral quality of his work. A slum of destitution, one critic said, is where his poetry lies. Images of past haunt the populace. Each rebellion passed with the fervor of youth dying away. What place is there for morals, he thought, when the majority escape into the wilderness, only to surface when they are equipped with arms. He told me, I had to withhold my allegiance until the very last word, knowing one of us would be mistaken for a prophet and the other, a fool. Does that move the story forward? I wanted to benefit from the distinction, joined in an emblem of love. He noted, here, together, we are safe. It had been clear to him at that very moment, consoled beneath an inescapable sun, he knew in brief metaphysical bounds he had officially begun the contents of a narrative. But where? Others spoke of it as well, past life regression experienced in the rooms, treading among catacombs of an endangered class. What gains could they accomplish? Now, everywhere his eyes fell he found a spirit passing from territories he had already been, but when? There was a time he cared so deeply for the place it had brought him to his knees, and he vowed never to abandon it again, and later, proving himself wrong. Drifting further into melancholy he stooped to the side, lying against a gate he took to be his own. He touched the figment of a boardwalk fountain. A sacred monument of the past. From where he sat and watched her, perform her duties in delight. Where are you from, he heard someone ask? What is it like there? The port of ports, he thought to himself, questioning whether he ought to laugh, relenting, it is destroyed. Then, his voice dropped, suffering what all men suffer when caught in the rapture of regret. It is true what is said, he told himself, it is destroyed.
Suffering is appropriate.
You will say when we ride in your car next this entire piece written for our generation si about sacrifice and nothing else, and I will agree, except to say it is a photographer’s lament and poet’s lost child. Did I not tell you? While wrapping things up I decided I would return the third temple to our tribe. I think so poorly of the settlers, and even less of those who empower them. It will take time, and they know my steely eyes, and my language. I have to be careful. I am a guest in their house but I am deceitful. I sell my soul. They buy it.
He digs his face into the ground.
The mud soaks into his skin. He feels the dirt in his fingers, rowing the tips away from his spot, digging the soil into his nails. In a few hours he will wake, and it will be assumed, for all matters of investigation, he is alive. He will gather his thoughts and regret. That is the norm. He turns his eyes to his navel. Hearing a hawk’s passing premise he sensed a faint drizzle seam from the sky. He wanted to remain incognito, at least until the others arrived. To damage his pulse. To light his depression. He noted, the importance of her doorstep for the entire frame, he felt the whipping of her sanctuary bells, hanging from the lilac crest from where he was permitted to sing, offering the mute fragments a wasting creature can afford. I know the penalty, he told himself, isn’t it enough to know?
The caravan races in reverse.
Tribes gathering, settlers soak afternoon anise.
He watched her, standing at the widow walk of a nearby farmhouse. Commotion in the quarters. He whispered, soon, when the willows commence in weeping, I will kneel and wash your feet. Will you accept me? Society will descend. The horror is already written. We are like sand, weightless. Thieves, ungrateful. Waiting on the moisture we were promised. Is the story subject to change? He takes a moment. I have nowhere left to go.
The room is a collection of memories.
Withstanding the effects of ageing the room only grows. He remembered, I was told I would outlive them all. An image of his ancestral birth moved steadily away. Each room a painting, each painting a hearse. Yielding to the emotion of his breast, he decided, he would prepare for his escape, knowing it would be futile. Like threading laundry in a storm. To whose benefit! He was not really able to move, adequately or at all, but the fact remains, he had been driven by the belief he was not worth the misery of survival in their hands. There would be no applause. The curtain is drawn automatically. The audience lives in time. He watched, from the corner of his eye, focused on the descent of various meals. He told me, when they know I am listening, I am assaulted. A mechanism that keeps count, relying solely on the numbers. He could feel the others staring, yawning, bored at the pace of their meals. The numbers are rising. Even in the interest of goodwill, he decided, there isn’t any point, freedom will not suffice. The impressions excite you. Nobody knows his name, and he has this book, see, what do you have?
He must have travelled extensively.
I posses very little.
Rising to leave, he knew he would not make it very far. Several books were left behind, among them, his own. Using tablature in language, it was said, he spoke to the blind. The situation was ominous. The winter had been wet, the summer had been dry. Waste filled the aquatic rim. He wondered, it may have all just been a giving of thanks. Signs of love, admiration, and we were smart to dream it all. the lone sailor, drowning in view of the wasteland. Her cry perforating the omnipresent vein. He looks into the room. Even if he digs, he is stuck, standing above solid ground. He counted several heads, hung on their racks for resting. Severed limbs of gathered corpses, used to settle an absent fire. Sure, the rules. A voice catches him. He turns around. Unexpected, the voices are easier to hear when they are quiet. He had some nerve to study his components carefully, as though each voice were an egg hatching in geometric surprise. And what volatile eggs! And how many of them! I have been implicated, serving the sentencing of a louse, a speck of incidental dust. All I wanted was to paint your wings blossom during conjugal visits, and here I am, suffused and of the whores. Don’t I deserve attention?
The monk quiets his prolonged depression.
Seated gracefully, reading extracts beside the basin of her tangerine groves. That was the day he first lifted the book from the table, concerned with his survival. Seated at the steps of a museum. Where the image goes to water. The world is a wandering mystery, capsules of imagery and tone. I capture what the eye absents by the heart, but still I am aggrieved. Humbled, I tell her about you, traces of your past across the city’s arm. It is a matter of insisting, she says. I will find you if I insist. Even though times have changed things I say this with clarity, because you are gone now and I am worse off than before. I have come to know myself by knowing you. My tools are fleeting. I am forced to capture little fragments of justice as they arise, holding them captive as insurance. From myself! From her. Plague, nature’s great insurance. A part of me remains where she is implied. I seek shelter. He asked me, do you look into the mirror? He listed the things he shed, noting that nothing of substance simply vanishes. He asked about the others who he had forgotten, who picked all his purging behind him. He spent a lifetime in their midst yet hardly noticed their disappearance. Life as it is meant. I have been cruel. His eyes glazed with the waning of an insurgent youth.
Steam rising from a welding manhole.
I tell you, we are in danger.
He passed two colonial buildings, resting against the courtyard stump. Are you the poet, she asked? He bowed, accepting her departing gift. She could not have turned to him again, disappearing beyond the waterfront. The alley deserted weaving pines. Do you recognize where I am? You carry this image with you, bursting from a screen after the war. An ocean tremor aligns his senses. He pulls on his gloves, lit by the prevailing smoke. Moments to encounter, feeding you in the twilight of your life. He walked. Refuge gathering house. Settlers tend the gates. You should know by now. Be charitable with your memory.
Soon he will relent and tell me everything.
I turn from him to leave, stung by the weight of his breath. He reaches the end of a corridor that never seems to end. Upset, drawn to violence, taking hold of the pages. He wanted them burned, symbolically, lighting them with a single match, watching as they sink into ash. And with the pages his clothes, he wanted to renounce his clothes, the very mark of his captivity. But he could not develop the awareness, at that moment, of ever wearing any clothes. What had been done to him? My words are intended to wound. His arms shake uncontrollably. Are we by the cube? He wanted the death of a martyr, and it would come, ensuring he would die remembered, extinguished in a memorial flame. Composing a lament that would entrench his soul in the memory of his peers. I return to them my clothes and my devices. Corpses, sodomized under their watch. The malice of an empire. He could remember, the darkest winter, striking two or three times a year. Quiet torment, the result of those days. Thousands of newborns, shipped in a container to ease the panic of famine overseas. A cauldron of impunity. He had grown used to it, counting the figures, each of varying height, hurled into a mass of fire, spiraling on a roasting spit, metaphysically bound for his eager eyes to see. The buried trauma of the port of ports! He could remember it.
He forgets you in his temperament.
For a moment, he is free.