Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The gland in his neck turned to stone seemingly overnight. It influenced the contents of his dream through the same process, I suppose, that made small organs solid, the same process that cast a pall over the evening’s proceedings because no one remembered to celebrate by blowing on the correct end of a trumpet. My reaction was photographed from every angle but the one that might have explained what exactly I was reacting to, why my words hung in the air for several moments like an impromptu gathering of terns. Later, he asked me if I knew someone whose name I forget now, and of course I said yes. Otherwise, everyone within earshot would have known I had arrived without a ticket, without so much as a pair of shoes. I had decided to borrow these things from the man standing outside. He didn’t seem to mind the rain or the cold too much, but he didn’t at all appreciate my tapping him on the shoulder. Leaving the moniker of the facility un-stated allows us to claim we knew what we were doing while at the same time giving us an out should the interrogation (which is coming as surely as is the Wednesday two Wednesdays from now) grow too personal. Should it immediately focus on the interior portions of our bodies where no light has shone for many years. Once, I underwent a procedure named for the Romanian physician who first suggested it in a paper, as well as the Norwegian physician who first attempted it afterward. He had some limited success, though that success was naturally overshadowed by the more numerous tragic failures that accompanied it, and by a very complex personal life. As you can imagine, the procedure is very difficult to pronounce and for this reason people usually just refer to it by a set of initials. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the history. If anything, it suggests we should probably be more vigilant in the recall of that history, and of the history of everything else we come into contact with on a daily or weekly basis. In the street, you could hear the barking of the vicious dog packs that roamed the garbage dump nearby, but this sound was hardly sufficient to distract one from the sound of classical instruments – oboes, I think, primarily -- drifting down from open windows, where, if you looked closely enough, you might discern an elegant female arm gesturing in languid accompaniment to something the arm’s owner was, no doubt, in the act of saying at that very moment. It was enough to make you wish you had learned at some point in the past how to interact with people at even the most fundamental of levels, had learned to communicate with them using something more satisfying and ultimately effective than simple guffaws and snarls. Then maybe you too could have been standing high up over the street looking down at the poor souls who wandered around beneath that window in the rain and the cold. Who had nowhere to go and very little to do once they got there. Strain the spaghetti, maybe. Make a picture with colored sand, then wipe it away again – destroy it -- before someone they loved happened by and saw it and insisted on having the thing explained to them in precise and exacting detail. The Doric columns and the piercing rays of the sun and the people milling about as if even a loose approximation of the world can’t be the world without a certain number of human beings taking up space in it. At the center or along the periphery. Which is no longer the periphery, really, once these quasi-human entities, these rough geometric stand-ins, arrive.

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