Monday, November 5, 2012

His appearances hinge on barometric pressure, on whether or not the crickets are singing. Circumstances we can neither predict nor alter without also altering the way we view the outside world. Permanently. And for the worse. I peel the backs off the labels I find in my coat pocket and affix them haphazardly to fence boards and abandoned refrigerators. I sketch on those left over at night, in pen, creating intricate cross-hatch visages that have no right to exist because they are too nearly perfect, too symmetrical and reveal next to nothing that hides behind them. When we are out in the open, miles away from the nearest gas station or pastry chef, when our arms begin to twitch and shudder under no other impetus than the sight of the moon, who will soothe the panic that rises to the surface then like a family of cephalopods? Who will write each distinct and necessary number down for future consultation without also insisting on a surcharge, on a means of keeping his family alive? Immanuel stumbles over physical entities in the road like rocks and cobras and when he coughs, I detect (precisely because I am looking for it) actual vapor droplets coming from his mouth. All of which suggest he’s not entirely of the other, unknown plane yet and there might be time to get a hook into his flesh -- or what manifests itself in the guise of flesh -- and pull him back into this fretfully mundane plane of our own. He seems to know what I am contemplating, though, and whenever I maneuver myself to within arms’ length, he pulls away. He issues a brief, inhuman shriek and then utters a series of uncanny words and phrases. Usually an impromptu commentary on books and atlases the rest of us have no access to, entire libraries (if I were to guess) existing as shadows of that destroyed in Alexandria or suffering funding cuts up the road in Illinois. If my wits could be with me instead of elsewhere, instead of scampering up pine trees like small, anxiety-prone mammals, I would cease creation of the perfect cross-hatch human faces and gather some of what is presented from the unknowable by this visitor who, when still here in his totality, had no more use of the previously undocumented bits of Anachreon he is spouting at me than he did an intimate knowledge of the behind-the-scenes workings of his microwave oven. How lukewarm we’ve become to the things we can see with our eyes, but not our minds! As if our minds had come to cultivate blindness. As if they had spent too much time on ladders leading always up and leaning perilously to one side when you place your foot upon the bottom rung. Ten years from now, I will look back at the present moment and glimpse maybe one eight thousandth of what surrounds and overwhelms me today – the light inundating everything in waves, the mountain still four days or a week away by foot but glinting in the sun like the unearthed corner of a diamond, and, along a ridge near the top, a dozen or so enormous radio telescopes all pointed in the same general direction, listening intently for waves and communication from the deepest parts of outer space, where everything, apparently, is sound, is abiding and undifferentiated noise masquerading for some reason no one can quite put his finger on as impenetrable silence.           

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