Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I stop, stand in place and light a cigar once the trail reveals itself as a trail, as something determined to go backward in time and space and take me with it even when I think I am going forward. What I am hoping for some day is a simple room, with or without windows, it doesn’t matter. Maybe a table for writing, a place to lay my head when it grows so heavy the neck seems obsolete. Something to preserve in a museum. Maybe someone on the other side of the wall to rap out a code we determine for ourselves after a month or two of trying. Of course, I can never be sure if the rules and structure I settle upon are the same as those settled on by my invisible companion and so I can never consequently be sure that the idea or statement or threat or filthy joke he is tapping is the same finally as what I manage to decode, but still, coincidence can only explain, at most, every third occurrence of any such it is enlisted to explain and I envision hours spent in this fashion that would otherwise be spent pouring over Ahkmatova and reliving a past that is better left to molder in the shadows out of view. Eulalie considers the topography misleading, says the going up is always preceded by a sliding sideways and wonders if maybe this isn’t a message sent from above by someone who wants us to pay more attention to the everyday, to be grateful for it the way we are grateful for the proper admixture of oxygen and nitrogen without even realizing it, without once mentioning it to those who stand next to us at the counter and place their orders and wait. They seem distracted by something, anxious to get away. Eulalie recalls the time she was walking beside a line of orange trees, deep in the sort of metaphysical speculation that is very nearly always brought on by the smell of raw citrus, when an elderly man, well-dressed and proper, called out to her from his back yard where he was a digging an enormous hole in the ground with a spade. His inquiry concerned money and she knew what that meant, but he waved her initial outrage off as if it were composed primarily of gnats and the sounds that emerge from musical instruments when played by someone who has no training, who has never even seen their like before except for maybe in a movie set in post-war Vienna. Funny how our recollections start out as tangible reality and would stay that way but for our bad habit of allowing the world and everything in it to slip by, to alter its appearance and timbre until there is no way to recognize it anymore, no means of determining who we are and where we fit in short of withdrawing forever into the memory itself, where we can float at the surface like otters and drift off into something like sleep eventually, lapped at by the warm and familiar waters, by the darkness that is not darkness absolute but only a simulacra -- the memory of darkness – which we can then alter at will to suit our needs the way we alter the genetic make up of the tomatoes we eat, or the course of entire rivers.              

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