Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some day, I know, she will taste like medicine, the kind you take for various ailments of the joints and skin. Until that time I will lobby for extended hours and bring with me cocktails pre-made and sold on the corner for whatever currency you might have in your pockets. German marks. Palm oil in bottles. We act as if the sun has only recently been invented, something provided us in exchange for fifteen minutes on one knee, or ten on both. Our fingers seem to grow longer before they retreat in on themselves again in barely perceptible fashion. If you are not paying strict attention, you will miss it. You will speak to others of things that are no longer of interest to them because they have been paying attention and they know what’s at stake. Nothing short of the re-invention of the human. The talking it down from middling heights. Eulalie is thoroughly childlike in her grief, prone to wander about the grounds (such as they are) for hours at a time, sucking on her thumb and whimpering. Occasionally she will let loose with a guttural wail, followed closely by a tune that lodged itself in her brain during her formative years. In, I don’t know, Idaho. Or Saigon. Or the back lot of some Hollywood studio that has long since gone bankrupt, its oft-seen assets parsed out like wrapped candy. I try to memorize the tune so as to be able later to join her in at least this much of her grief -- a stone path at the border, a membrane only as wide as my feet -- but the tune is complicated and after a day or two of trying, I begin to suspect that she is re-inventing it each time through, or, worse yet, creating it on the spot in a deliberate attempt to throw me off, to make me look foolish. Funny how we become convinced of things that can not be proven but remain forever skeptical of that which may be demonstrated in no uncertain terms, can be traced from its origins to its conclusion and fleshed out in between by someone with little more than a paintbrush and a tray of acrylics. Or a background in cosmetology, so long as that background included a smattering of rhetoric and metaphysics just in case you found yourself coiffing the unruly head of a scholar. I try to brush the insult off as best I can primarily because I am not entirely sure it is an insult and I envision the future with Eulalie in it even though I know there is no future, as such, and envisioning it only succeeds in reducing its parameters from nothing to less than nothing – a figment of an imagination that was obviously poverty-stricken to begin with. Or a negative sum taken to the fourth decimal place. Because the third is too close to the second and so smacks of something as darkly anti-Pythagorean as compromise.           

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