This moment is a persistent beetle, struggling to enter beneath the bone white wood of a screen door. Swept again, foraging and seeking another home, always returning. A day, a week, a year, and again the barely perceptible tap tap scrabble of claw and abdomen. It is black pointed pines, dusk blue pierced, and every word silenced by the artificial sun.
Under the street lamps of my park.
It must be liberating to be up at this hour, running about in rags through the park, kicking at phantoms and flies, stretching under the watchful gaze of the few still functioning street lamps. I look down from behind glass and over the wall and long to steal a bit of his freedom. What would happen, I wonder, if I crept past my sleeping wife, sleeping dogs, sleeping gate, and hid behind one of the grand molle trees to watch closer?
There are dogs passing by, though not often, casting shadows across walls. He doesn’t notice them, or me, as we shadow our way in a weave, careful to respect one another’s breathing. If I was to step out from this spot, and let my shadow fall upon him, would he let me in on his secret? Most likely, he would stop his pre-dawn calisthenics and speak to me. But then I would lose interest, because he would have lost his freedom.
Crawling back into the wrap of bed is best, or an invisible nod.
We are made up of our experiences, what happens to us, what we happen. That is why memory is a door. We enter, we exit. The murderer, who can forget his acts of violence, is no longer a murderer.
When I see her standing there weeping, painting her young face caged, I walk over and stand to her left. ‘Hi.’ ‘Hi.’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘So, you’re crying.’ ‘Yeah. He did it again. I want out of here.’ ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ ‘Okay.’
Any number of possible endings, but an experience that ended in one. She died. We didn’t do it. I remember because it is part of who I should be.
Then there are those other things. Of shame. Kept alive, we are those people, though we should never have been them. Forgotten, there is hope. That we are not those people, but different.
Only a small world can be described, only a small person knows another.
There is a fault line running between my shoulders and the base of my skull. This would not be a problem, it is not active; except for the many people living alongs its invisible divide, setting up homes, planting trees, playing cooperative games; except for those times I stomp from this place to another, hand shaking, dancing, falling down thump thump in the street; except for when it rains. You might think, then, it is safer to sit still on a park bench and watch others pass by, or stand before a window wondering at the weeds. But what if that person wanted to speak with me, or if the window broke? Because then I would have to make room for something new, and one side or the other is bound to slip eventually under the stress of one more crack or stomp. No, instead I will put on this sleep mask, plug these ears, close this mouth, and lie still under this down comforter. That way, certainly, we will all be safe.
Incomplete…March 9 2011
A staircase always goes down, never up.
Winged bats and books snatching up dreams as they pass by
And you would think it was a hunt
But it’s not.
Accidental destruction, we have to make up stories
To tell us otherwise.
Stories, fiction, blurry tapestry on blank walls all around.
I hear the huat huat of tiled feet always forward going
Or stop or go, nothing else,
Why is there nothing else?
Those crystalline ornaments I knew as a child
Don’t cover up anything in this dry, hateful heat;
No merry-lolling in these streets—
Somewhere, a deep-throated warbler, insatiate, sighs.
This is what I was told would happen —harbinger
Of clogged cloaca and those unfinished nightmares
That disappoint and leave one bare
Before new day’s start and endless pointing fingers—
Even Plath could see the muffle and mute it gives
To blues and reds, but here there is no renovation,
Just the steady deterioration
Of a weary mutt holding on stubbornly to life.