Friday, January 18, 2013

Check the high pitched metallic pings and rattling coming from the rear of the building. They might be an indication that the invasion is underway. If you see nothing but bits of straw and clock radios still in their boxes, levers that have yet to be definitively pulled down, you know the synapses in your brain are firing properly, no matter how frequently an acquaintance you trust tries to convince you that deliberation, slow and careful accounting of the events swirling around you on the outside, is what you need at the moment. Maybe that’s why there are medications with names on the labels that remind you of the high wire act at the circus. Or a weekend spent on the shores of a lake created entirely through the interminable process of glaciation, and therefore of inferior quality according to those whose job it is to rank various bodies of water following standards and guidelines that wouldn’t make sense to you or me because we didn’t take the correspondence course, remember? We got wrapped up in our own dilemmas instead and began to picture the cosmos existing as much inside the skull as outside, and every attempt by the universe (or its stand-ins, the physicists and priests, but mostly the various sexual partners one runs up against over the course of an ordinary lifetime) to convince us otherwise – by pointing to vicious storm surges, say, half a world away, or corroded batteries, or the pelicans bobbing mindlessly on the waves -- was met with a skepticism both virulent and impractical and all but guaranteed to make us unpopular with our peer set and our emotionally unstable relatives. Who knows how many days I waited across the street, my eyes on the windows of the third floor once I had established his residence there? By watching for lights turned on at suitable intervals after he had arrived. By conjuring in my mind the layout of the place and the time it should take to move from one end of it to another or ascend the stairs and look down behind you at the distance already covered. In fact, distance is the key to all obsessions (as long as the word is defined in spacial terms and not, as too frequently occurs, in terms one otherwise associates with the emotional centers of the brain) and as such should be measured with instruments sensitive enough to capture actual gradation without being so sensitive as to reject the presence of human hands and corneas, to malfunction the moment they leave the assembly line or the place on the table where the individual craftsman -- nay, genius -- has been working day and night to forge something his immediate forebears could only have imagined. With wings where wings have never previously appeared. And a name similar to a name in another language, though without the accompanying detritus – the umlauts, for instance, or the various idioms associated with that particular word in that particular language threatening to drag the whole edifice down through their accumulated weight, their stubborn refusal to strike out like newly-minted adults on their own.    

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