Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Please forgive me, she says, if I don’t know your name. This is the point where cheese comes into the picture. It is government issue (of course) and covered in mold. Maybe we are expecting a flugelhorn solo, something tidy, trimmed up around the edges. My patience wears to a point too miniscule to observe, sharp as the end of a pencil and twice as lethal. I don’t wield it with anything like precision but the time will come when half the dollar bills in your pocket begin to resemble the other half and bus fare increases to a point where no one is riding anymore. They stand on the sidewalk and wave or make obscene gestures, which is just another form of waving. The kitchen smells faintly of raspberries and Comet, of ink stains on the fingers and Eulalie sits uncomfortably at a chair with her name engraved on the back of it as if the man and whoever else is in the house (she can sense someone else’s presence the way you can sense midges flitting about behind your head) have been expecting her, as if they have planned this encounter down to the millimeter. When I stumble up mountain paths, I am hoping to find someone at the end, someone seated with his legs crossed in a makeshift temple, candles burning and meaningless syllables hanging in the cold air. I picture a conversation that has no real center, that spins around on itself in ever widening circles like the trajectory of a hungry bat and a moment of clarity that remains still pretty murky by the accepted standards of such moments, those that have been handed down to us by seers and drinkers and the hopelessly insane in books and films with titles that don’t seem very promising at first. That suggest ordinary afternoons in Connecticut. A love affair between two people who don’t really care what love is. But who seem suddenly likable because the camera is angled low and so looks up at them and their faces are creased and sunken in in places like ours, and smooth and idealized in others, like those faces belonging to religious icons painted in the thirteenth century by artists who never quite knew when to stop, when to put the brushes down and take a break and watch the children throw rocks at one another or pull the wings off any birds they happened to catch in their improvised nets.

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