Tonight, I’m dying
and she is learning to live
her life without me.
Tonight, I’m dying
and she is learning to live
her life without me.
from Bride of God
Sebastiana, young in her late twenties, dresses for work, a young professional condemned to a cubicle; one of a million, in a million, in a million-dollar industry. Opens a drawer of stockings, she listens. A pair will speak to her, read to her, molest her thighs, potentially, with the eyes of her superiors and subordinates… She is a woman. The paisley, the zigzag, the polkadot, the iridescent shimmering under the florescent light and dark accents where her pale flesh entices the vulgar and vehement. Loneliness, be her fulfillment, neglected in a neglected apartment in the city; black dropceiling, outdated carpets wall to wall, mattress, bedless, lying on the floor, empty bottles and plastic bags, dried food leftover on plates from last night’s leftovers. Her stockings speak and build the headboard, do the dishes, vacuum, recycle. It is it is it is, she wore stockings .
Sure as shit
Right as rain
Good as gold
Dead as a doornail
High is the tide
Cold is the water
Heavy is the hand
Tall is the Order
Luck, be a lady
Lady is a tramp
Tramps like us,
please don’t go
Don’t look back
Don’t back down
Don’t look so sad
Don’t say I didn’t warn you
Bat an eyelash
A flash in the Pan
A moment’s notice
Up in arms
Up the ante
Up in smoke
Lay of the land
Number of the Beast
The people of earth
at the break of Dawn
Break a leg
You’ve got a leg up
(I’m pulling your leg
one leg at a time)
Reap what you sow
Pay what you owe
Write what you know
What do you know, anyway?
Say your penance
Say your prayers
(I’ve said my peace)
The bus stops shortness of breath control top pantyhose him down town mouse.
When the air is slick against your skin, you can feel time happening all at once. Remember learning to swim and the smell of that ocean crawls into your face. Remember the maiden’s hair shedding and the sarcotesta lie on your tongue like a dead animal. Imagine the physics of an hourglass reversed in multiple entendre, and step into the future; there is not so far to Nar Mattaru.
I slip through the atmosphere like a birthing child, reveling in what I know and am now learning, apparently for the first time, though I know this humidity like a membrane; a dense placenta ripe with amniotic reprisal waiting for cricketsingers to bite their effs through the lip. I carry my umbrella tied. Luckily, I haven’t had to use it yet. That’s not to say I’ve never been caught in the rain…but I know with this humidity, the way it weighs down, it is crushing my lungs, that it would be best to carry one for the time being. But how tightly the clock is unwound. My clothing sticks to me, a chill runs through as a cool wind ushers away the warm fog in an afternoon. Staring off down the street, as the belly of the sky rumbled it’s first thunder, a small drop of rain hits me in the eye. A sleep fell deeply in squared potentials, but a king’s yawn at poor fools brought the second wind, which was a wind for me and my self alone, and in a flash, I existed everywhere, and always, from the very beginning until the end. When I return to my umbrella, it is still tied. A second drop, on the cheek…a third. A mist into a light drizzle. A pleasant sunshower in the afternoon on a tuesday. I raise my umbrella, untied, and open it to the sky.
A warm veil, laced with a decorative pattern, burdened in my favorite color, gathers above. I am walking faster than I can walk, to the point where I leave Sebastian where he is at the present moment, walking down the street on a tuesday, sunshower in the afternoon, and step into the future. A limitless future, with criteria, suffers limits, undoubtedly. We will only move slowly, like a lover’s hand, like evolution. Places us a step ahead of my former vessel, places he does not dare to go, for the time being. Step outside the galaxy and dive headfirst into the first future I set my eyes on. The one that seems most feasible. There are many to choose from.
The rain won’t come fast enough. Knuckles of the pitiful pious clench like folded palms for prayer for sons’ forsaken fists, holey in the hands fraught with alms and father’s fury. Hold your breath as the arms give way. Small boys gone learning without proper parental supervision swim swimmingly under the weather overcast. Genuflect for sobbing madonnas left to ripple behind generation upon generation growing up on theft and mimicry. Growing high toward magnet moon, they’re brought to reverence in new shallows where once were lush parkinglots. A phantom arthritis, the Herald of Varuna. The winds pick up, throwing black confetti for the Bride of God.
Heat builds like condensation on our little preface. A whitehot comet slips through the atmosphere like a psychic in the rain; so much so, that it is real, and the future so imminent we are caught in the middle. They’d fall like arrows, and the pressure is too much for the old girl to bear. She turns to mud in front of us and we are back to where we started, walking down the street with our umbrella, and our name is Sebastian. We’re about to snap out of it.
Sebastian walks at sunrise, one step ahead of himself, and here we meet again. Following faults lined to the future, let us step aside to let the man pass. And into the past we are now and further. A fog, once again; seeding gingkoes, crawling into your face, reminding you of a childhood, from the very beginning, and learning how to swim. We dive headfirst into an ocean as the arms give way and there is panic. This panic begins in the chest. And quickly it spreads. Throughout the body. Into the head, and behind Sebastian’s eyes. The panic made him sick as a current carried him further and further out, paralyzed by fear and left for a mannequin, as his mind struggled to accommodate the wait. The pressure was too much for the young boy to bear. Suspended in the cold, clouded green of that ocean, a spurt of blood and vomit like smoke from the mouth and the water rushes in. The undertow pulls little Sebastian’s body deep into a dark netherworld of which he’d learn the proper name and identity. And after an eternity, we return to the child; unwound from a giant tentacle from the bottommost bottom of the sea and up to its surface. We are now lying with our back on the sand. Hands press against the sternum and we cough up two small lungsworth of saltwater. I can hear my mother’s voice. My god… Are you okay? she asks. Mommy, I say, I learned how to swim. Vision soaked through like a spill through paper as sound came crashing like waves in unread paragraphs. I help myself to my own two feet, refusing the lifeguard’s hand. Staring off, down the shoreline I see a man walking with an umbrella, tied, and follow from a distance not far from Nar Mattaru.
With prayers in their hearts, hearts tremble in chests at the foot of the bed before drifting off as coffins of memory down glasstar rivers. The rain fell further than rain has ever fallen. And with distance comes velocity, proving gravity kinetic. By nightfall, sleep infected the black hemisphere. All heads rested on dry feathers, dreaming the umbrellaman’s dream, while outside cloudpatches quilted unseen to blanket the sky perpetually, the sirens’ song seeping through every seam with hearts crowned and on fire, as those asleep in shadows, someplace else when the stitches finally burst, arise with rhetorical questions.
From Apiary 2.
Sleepwalk with the Blackmonks at an early age. Empathize with the armadillo lizard. We can’t ever have anything nice in this house, said the broken old man. But curly-haired knowitalls go nowhere thinking in triangles, as a cloven-hoofed hypotenuse is formed through the power of suggestion. Good shepherds gone bad in two shakes of a lamb’s tail (heavy fall the footsteps of the handbasket bearer toward the bearer of his young, bearing down with a bareknuckled fist for the Breaking Ritual). Take everything you know, little knowitall, and throw it out the window. A hand raised to God and the crowd falls silent upon deaf ears on the second story. Their sequel, set in stone, watches silent films by the handrail, white as a ghost, as the nightmare continues. This doesn’t leave this house, said the broken old man. Baseball bat in the umbrellastand for rainy days, perhaps, or just such an occasion. As autumn’s evening chill burns through his nostrils, turning turbinate bones to chalkdust behind the eyes, mother’s tears well and whisper his secret identity, screaming hysterically for the daily listener to please, turn that dial. Or so the story goes.
The old man makes for the umbrellastand. The child makes for the solace of the nightlight in his bedroom.
Feet locked tightly at the foot of the bed when all falls silent. When the possibilities of shattered glass diminish to historical context, left with only sweaty pajamacollars and a flickering nightlight, trying to escape for you. As a child can do nothing but wait and cover his ears, more is destroyed than can fill a rowhome.
Consumed by the silence, the boy’s imagination makes for a more horrible outcome, and prayers for violent voices to return. At the least, the violence downstairs means everyone is still alive and there will be breakfast with a family in the morning. In the wake of breakage, the silence leaves uncertainty.
The nightlight burns out finally and he is left with a mind in pitch darkness, for hours, left to wonder if such things as hours exist. The moonlight reveals another life. The life existing outside these walls, outside former planes of experience. From his bed, the boy can only see outside the window. Through this brief window the boy will escape; out of bed, to his feet, to the window, up on the windowsill, onto the ledge, up through the sky, into infinity. He will drift out into space until he’s too far to hear downstairs. Too far for the volatile world below to reach for him, as the boy reaches for distant suns, holding one in his fist to throw it like a baseball.
The threefoot child towering over his cowering self selflessly as his own guardian angel, tolling bells of angelus for Pagans once beat to Hell like screwdriver pulp, drawn through straws like drugs for nicht as beatniks draw straws against Hell’s Angels, fixed and drugged by nacht for naught. So nightly, he lay tightly covered under a comforter, something unable to live up to its name, and the boy could only pray he’d be unable to live up to his own; some cold and beautifully violent inheritance that was given to him before he could ponder the existence of hours, or clench the stars without throwing like a girl, or develop complex cocoons from which he’d someday flourish and fly away fearlessly, floating on warm updrafts, flaunting his freedom. But for now, he is unable. For this child knows true terror like a statue, chiseled as a monument to the Faun, knows it could never’ve been chiseled by an idle nor alien hand.
But for now, for the boy, there is nothing but his bedroom before sunrise.
Back to bed you go now, boy.
Witches watch through his window as the boy’s frightened shadow slips in through his skin, snapping him out of nearly napping, still, wrapped tightly, at the foot, feet crossed ready for the final nail. He felt frail, physically; a testament to the power of panic, when, with a flash in the pan, the Beast of Placebo can foster an unparalleled pandemic, leaving the mind petrified, paralyzing the body, a face flushed pallid, devoid of precious porcelain, now poison through the plush of his pillow, now pressed into his palm like the mortar into pestle. In the throes of hypnagogia, the slightest tap against the pane by waning winds guides the child’s eyes toward the window. There, a silhouette.
Eigenlicht antichrist risen from the dustbowl, dressed accordingly. Pontiff staring through the glass, unbroken, pries open welded palpabrae, providing a pulpit from which to deliver more palpable a prophecy. Playing dead to predators, a primal pantomime in the face of dark fathers, may fool the fox, but not the phantom. Eyes, though invisible, stare through the child as children stare through windows. And through this brief window, two stories up, silent and motionless, as the boy himself was, at some point in the evening, or earlier in life, at an early age, the man in silhouette. The Man in Shadows.
The howls of winds and neighborhood dogs vanish soon after the violent voices vanish. The flesh goes numb as a draft goes unnoticed along the fine hairs of the arms and behind the neck. The child pulls the covers up to his neck, waiting.
It’s never easy when it’s just a boy, still full of awe, in search of everything.
Crawling inside the child was a memory, which he’d swallowed, now crawling his intestine like tapeworm. And here, this man has spent an eternity in search of windows; the windows of the few tired and terrified who cry through their prayers up through the sky into infinity, and will do so for many more to come, as many more have done so before him, doubting the others’ existence. Doubting their own, as their separation was merely an obstruction of light. The identity dies with every individual. The secret is in the wind and delivered through windows by whispering silhouettes. To the scared and sacred they come, destroying dreams as a means of salvation. But it’s never easy when it’s just a boy. They’ve never seen it coming, so it’s hard to take the dark lightly.
Now the child lay tightly wrapped in the throes, not afraid or awake, nor sleeping through a nightmare. Not awake nor sleeping, the cocoon is shed to mattress while parlorgames raise bodies from the living at the fingertips of a slumberparty. In the wind, now poised in the burial position. Now listen for the wind against your skin against the window, now open. Open for questions, now ask the wind a question. Now listen. You can close your eyes and pretend I can’t see you. You can bite your tail and make light of the obvious. You can make for the last ditch, digging ‘til it’s lights out, like a nightlight flickers and dies. Like leaves, drying in the light, make for light like the dying in the Hour of Darkness. But in darkness, the shadow is not so obvious; and the fearful, oblivious. You’ll need your ears now boy, now listen. How small are the moments multiplied by the millions, with an inch of dust for every hour that pass, falling through the hourglass, weighed to the Earth with every other miserable creature; everything under the sun or anything that cast a shadow, or so the story goes. Now listen. You’ll need your eyes now boy, look at me. See now the world with the lights out; trust in whisper. We’ll play a round of Marcopolo around the son, excuse me, the Sun, and sweep the dust into a dustpan. Say goodnight to fascination as a whole. Nothing will ever come to you as a surprise, as there is nothing but this bedroom before sunrise. Look to your left, you are a son, excuse me, the stars and sun you are still in bed, let the stars and the sun speak to the living. We now, boy, are left to the right. Our breath in the night, a visible mist of life for us shattered for magick under the Moon, on speaking terms with Monday. Your fears will not subside. The silence will always frighten you. This is my silhouette. What frightens you, boy, I’ll tell you. When the glass can no longer hold itself together, your world, as only you know it, will soon follow suit. Through your veins will run his coldrunned blood, a broken old man, until that blood lay stagnant in your own broken old body. When all falls silent, you will hear the violent voices below, howling up a wind against sails set to sail off into a vast sea of smooth, unbroken glass. You’ll settle on your little island, you won’t. You’re going where there are no islands, child. No solace in nightlights and crossed feet. You’ll’ve crossed the threshold of light and dark, child, land and sea. And when you see not a shadow, there will be a shadow. And when you hear not a voice, there will be voices violently whispered silently into your ear, from deep within you through a brief window. That which you fear most will live with you forever, and long after you’ve become just a memory. Your shadow will continue, like a nightmare continues into your first waking moments, to bring light on a rainy day or just such an occasion. You tremble, hovering above the covers because you’ve heard my words and understood. You’ve seen through your window the shadows you’ve seen before; in the pinholes of your father’s eyes, in your own eyes in the mirror, in the eyes of all who walk the earth and all that lie beneath it. For as long as there is a sun in the sky, there will be shadows on the ground. And as long as there is mystery, there’ll be a wind to whisper secrets. The wind falls still as I leave you; up through the sky, into infinity. You, child, still just a boy, fall asleep falling to mattress as one jumps awake from the height of a fallingdream.
Now you know the breadth of hours.
Back to bed you go now, boy.
Now breath fills his lungs the way the hours fill the evening. Wide awake the child lie, watching through his window the morning spill over rooftops as the Sun puts the shadows in their place for the day. Light fills the bedroom. The sound of footsteps step lightly up the stairs. The door opens slowly. First, a soft hand, then the child’s mother. It is early, and she is tired. She looks to her son, and smiles.
“Good morning,” she says.
“Go downstairs,” she says. “Breakfast is waiting.”
for Kathleen Eastwood
When it happened, she’d come on like angels through a tunnel. Buried and floating over London in the morning, beneath his feet and through the soul of a man running. Legs become a penniless bargain with Mr. Brownstone on the worst of the drynights, in circles, beating the air until the blood in the elevator returns to his penthouse in the city. Submarine voices pilot jet-engines at eyelevel without a weldingmask, snowblind, deaf to all but his heartbeat.
When your diamond lips melt, finally, and the frost is shaken from curly locks of hair (you devil), you will take to your feet and you will head for the hills and you will hide among the trees, you will. They will never find you in the trees. They would hover above until just enough fuel to get back, they would. Be patient. Hold tight until they’re gone.
When they were far enough to be gone, his sight would return and he’d stare through the forest as the sounds of wind and animals play rasp-and-chisel to his delusive visions of redwoods and redheads and red waxed bags intended for coin-collecting. Half-red ribbon left the other half black, with his hat and slacks and specs and matching leathers. Heart and soul, sold separately, complete the set together, for afterall, accessories do truly make the attire. Lord knows one wouldn’t be caught dead with small holes in slacklaps or white rings around the brim. Lord knows it’s sure cold out there.
When he least expects it, or when he most; when it goes undetected, or when it boasts; when it coasts at fiftyfour, sure, you better bet your money he’ll’ve dropped to his knees before twohundred-and-twenty. He comes-to with his head to the ground, brought to reverence like a pilgrim on the path of gnosis from Knossos to Jerusalem. Axe in hand, he swung for steel vultures and bought himself another day. But the day would come when, broke and dying, he’d watch the birds be torn to shreds by their own propellers. Until that day, may he be plagued by helicopters.
When the concrete has abandoned you in empty wilderness, his lungs will collapse. When his cochlea betray him for the wind of ghosts, you will lapse into neuralgia. On the eve of transmission, may you wake together and breathe eachother’s exhaled exaltations of life and of love and of living love until it eventually kills you. He feels her breath in his mouth, in his throat.
When she wakes, may she continue from where she left off. On a tangent for several score when he ran in the middle on running from the helicopters. With or without her, they will come looking. He will be found running, or hiding, with his arms on the ground and his head at his stomach.
When she is here, he is in the clear, until she sleeps. She sleeps until he is vulnerable.
When he is vulnerable, a signal is sent. With the signal sent, the ants make fallen branches of his fallen arms and he falls into the arms of a lover; a pure heart, the purest heroine to save and destroy him. The air is made of glass. Against the glass tap the blades beat against the air inside his chest among the trees, both above and below. What cyclical plot has developed. My, how the propellers spin ‘round. How the hawks rise like a breathing chest, heart beating.
This is a short prose piece designed as a prelude or companion to Eisoptrophobia, a one-act play that is part Mime, part Opera. Ideally, this would be broadsided and distributed with the playbill for the performance. However, this stands alone with glittered shadows and lipstick smeared on the mirror.
Perfume powdered telephone throbbing comet stationary on the vanity. The woman lives off light and sand, hairbrush for crowbar, and somehow, a body is pulled from the wreckage. Sixty or so mustaches bottomlipped when the hundredth stroke is flung into the light, ghosts emerging from onehour readingglasses falling onto manhattan, making a mess of the place. She studies the chin back into the jawline, up to the ear. Purses her lips. She wants it. She loves her Emme. Bat those eyelashes, baby, give me a kiss. We can reach through mirrors and glow with telephones, powdered, white palms and don’t I look beautiful. You always saw the bright side, Seer, but your eyes need shadowing; too clear and no drear make for dull reflex. Ions colliding with eachother over the forehead on Holy Wednesday assure you and the little ones a long and tolerable life; have faith my dear. All will be greater than you’ll imagine. Surface striped pingpong beaches at the core chase volcanoes down your lovely, delicate throat — whitemarks from former lovers’ fingers, still warm — formed from the tentposts of your jaw and vacant grounds; I trace them to the ear. I fend-off the trespassers. I whisper sweet nothings — the greyest gift of all.
Discodancing Emme to pink in circles. The other sits and waits inside with no option. After dead air, the puddle comes to life breaking constants like pebbles, but enough to fill a fishtank, concentrated, screaming from the eyes. A third scenario reveals a young Dalmatian pup collared red, locked in the car as Master exits a shoppingmall. For this, for now, we deal solely with the Two. The mantle surrounding that molten core.
An object inscribed Twelve, One Zero Eight washes ashore at lightspeed; the vibration stains the sky with a streak of blood-red cloud from time lining the skies with the Nile. This river carries you off toward her in view. As you approach, we stand aside to find her cheek, rose and chalky. Further, the eye, just one. A chin and nose. The ear. The face. She is standing when you fall from water.
This is where we are. Tell me we exist. Tell me where you exist at this moment. I ran to you here as it happened, like a Dalmatian pup. You do not recognize her. Tell me which one am I. You were brushing your hair when it hit; I saw you through the mirror, you thought I wasn’t looking. Eyes behind you like straightpins before demons no one should see. The telephone? Goodlord, I’ve lost you to Red. We can never be together.
Emme came and went and there was wine if you went with her, through all the black between the cracks in everything that glitters, through tundra and oasises, through oceans, lakes and rivers, from parallels in spaces, down and through a core that quivers. You feed off me, she says. Red, speechless and two-dimensional, cricketthighed and absentminded, she waits; the last breath is always the loudest.
So pink, so dark. You look at me with your eyes so bright, but sad. Your eyes so sad, you can’t shut up. Tell me again how beautiful. Tell me you want me. Put your hands on me.
The face that I see is not mine. I know that glass is forever. I know the limits of The Infinite. I know that you are not me, no matter how much I love you. No matter how much I long for you. Lashes batted and insulin stored in lobegauges, bringing back irrelevant memory to distract and make me love you forever like glass. I love touching you in my mind; you hold like petals on sleepbreath, suspended. You hold like Green Maria on his threeweeks-unwashed sweater in December. Cold barrier. Blue fire in your windows. Red consumes the exterior. I cringe as I apply my makeup.
Left eye flash through more than precious metal prisons strung like paperdolls for little princesses never quite venturing. Spoiled bitch I call like a prisoner. “Answer the phone, bitch.” She can read my lips. She knows to answer the phone. “Listen,” I say, “You are never to look at me again.” She says nothing. A rolled knuckle drags redglitter tears across the side of her face; it’s from someone that truly loves you you are magnificent. The coldest hand kindling a fire so brazen the blaze consumes the planet, and in turn, the universe, compressing existence into a thin plate of glass. All of which reflective. The blush reflects sadness, my beautiful foundation. Growing cold. She put her hand against the glass and asked for a sweater.
Red pulls her with arms muted to movement, merely. Her gloves lay beside on the top, already diamondgravel in anticipation.
Now immersed, young Emme stares into her pupils. Into the mirror you go. We’ll see what’s become of you.