The suitors aren’t ready for the noises in the walls, the reptiles issuing from crevices in numbers not previously seen unless you count the time when the climate had shifted slightly and the day lengthened by an average of twelve minutes so that there was time enough for breeding and time enough for the reports to get filed. A rare combination indeed, but when you factor in the questionable advice and the people stacked up like off-brand china on either side of the boulevard, you get one of those impossible to predict and impossible to replicate moments that put me in the mood, nine times out of ten, for an aperitif. That remind me my middle name is the one most apt to cause me difficulty, even mortal danger, when we return to the town on the mountain and find that some others in the vicinity have co-opted it and have tarnished it ruthlessly over the two or three decades since we left. Now there are scores to settle and the possibility, however remote, that I will never again see the banks of my beloved Ganges, will never again be able to wind surf on the Mediterranean among what you first assume to be boulders but which begin to look suspiciously like sea turtles or even mermen as your speed increases and your imagination does everything it can to keep up, to keep from being rendered obsolete by the more urgent requirements of the body. Like digestion. And that thing that happens just before digestion, but just after the visible world has turned into a two-dimensional replica of itself. Maybe chemistry is to blame for this disturbing phenomenon and maybe there is not enough blame to go around because whoever is in the business of manufacturing blame hasn’t realized yet the enormity of the task at hand. The headwinds to be conquered and the mountain peaks and the cardboard boxes in which you conceal your liquor as if you were an eighty-six year old man and you have forgotten how to determine what a loved one’s facial expressions mean. Oh, you have some inkling because of your training as an artist, the hours spent rendering still lifes in charcoal and pencil lead, the pieces of fruit gone rotten at the edges and drawing gnats, the underside of bridges where the rivets seem as big as your hand. But all of that barely adds up to a complete geometrical figure. A rhombus, say. Or its numerical equivalent such as that which (when it is applied liberally to precious metals, to gold and amethysts) makes certain people of your acquaintance completely independent of the vicissitudes of the heavens overhead. That convinces them they can journey out into the heart of the open sea on little more than a raft and expect to survive that journey, expect to wash ashore three months later looking very little the worse for wear. Sporting a beard, maybe, at worst. Licking obsessively at the corner of their lips where the flesh has not so much worn away or disintegrated as it has transformed itself into something less pliable than it used to be, something less likely to let itself get pushed around by the salt and the sun and its heat.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Much of the furniture has been broken and some of it burned but there is no one you can complain to because almost everyone in the vicinity is wielding broadswords and something tells me they are not made of cardboard. Clearly, they have been forged by an expert smith and decorated along the blades with designs that suggest a more than passing interest in numerology, something Eulalie herself comments upon after she has left for a week and then chooses not to return. She writes instead on stationary colored and scented of lemons. Her hand is sprawling and ostentatious and I wonder for a moment whether or not she has hired someone else to write it or her. Lately, Eulalie has the money to hire strangers to perform almost any action she wishes though no one seems to be able to account for how she got the money or what she intends to do with it now that she has it. I suspect a scam like that she ran in the Dominican Republic once that involved forging historical documents of questionable value or marginal interest. She could have made a fortune then, of course, had she gone for something more sensational, like an alternative Magna Carta or the missing pages of the Gospel of Mark, but she worried notoriety would undermine her operation too quickly, and besides, who wants to pursue the obvious? Why spend all your time chasing trends that someone else created when you could just as easily be creating them yourself? At least this was the question as Eulalie formulated it when she was still deep in the quagmire of despising pretty much every other person on the planet, a habit that arose, I believe, from the fact that she was unable to identify anything she could point to that distinguished her finally from them. The passages all lead in the same general direction and the poor lighting is not so much hindrance as invitation. Just the sort of thing to make you wish you had been born in a cave with the whip scorpions and the blind catfish as boon companions. That way, when people wrote your biography after you were dead (for what’s the good in writing it beforehand?), they’d have to do so as a collaboration because the single angle is guaranteed to obscure the view when it originates so deep underground. It will make the world seem linear and obscure and full of creatures that make a high thin menacing sound whenever they flit past your temples or when they scurry occasionally over the tops of your feet. Despite what some might claim to the contrary, I don’t care that no one is occupied with documenting my life. I’m a little unsure as to whether what has happened to me and what I have in turn caused to happen even actually fit, in totality, the definition. My life is more like a sketch really that someone started in the margins of an otherwise mediocre graphic novel, a sketch with two or three stick figures circling ominously on themselves and a rudimentary moon hung in the corner for effect.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
You can have your well-groomed protagonists stumble into any number of occupied rooms, you can have them paint snails in florescent colors and reveal their scrotums, but the door – the enormous door, that is, the crucial door I have been searching a quarter of the world over for because I dreamt once it existed and I became convinced, not because it was in a dream or because I give any particular credence to dreams but because I am easily convinced, because I take immediately to heart the slimmest or most circular of arguments and the flimsiest bit of evidence – the door is not going to appear suddenly through the use of techniques such as these. You’ll say that doesn’t matter because the door doesn’t exist and I’ll be forced to agree with you. But, at the same time, I’ll be whittling away at pieces of driftwood the neighborhood kids bring me routinely because there is a rumor I have a fortune and will pay cash, upwards of five hundred dollars, for random pieces of junk whenever such junk sparks my imagination. This happens so frequently I am, as a result, inundated and must fight my way to the surface, to the outside world, so that it is no exaggeration to suggest that my life is in danger! I have been within millimeters of suffocation at least three times before! When the cemetery begins to flood, the last of those who have come to illegally unearth their forebears, to whisk them away to a resting place on higher ground, drop their picks and their shovels and they wail at the moon as if they expect to find some condolence there when, in fact, to this point, there has been only silence. A serenity almost mocking in its infinitude. But what do you expect from something so far away it took us a thousand generations to tame? And even then, we did so only at our own peril, one or two at a time, strapped to devices that look now, all these years later, like antique wash tubs or the inventions of a visionary Chinese author from the distant past, inventions the precise use for which has been swallowed up by the significant differences between the language he composed in and the one we use today when we are reading, or just pretending to read. I am all for broadening the focus, for shifting ideas back to their root and origin, but what if the ideas are ideas in name only and when you cut them apart, you find inside merely a kind of blackness, the non-human equivalent of a blank stare? What if they aren’t even tangible the way potatoes are said to be tangible, which means, I suppose, you can hold them in your hands?