“At times it is in the fissure caused by an earthquake, through the radical mutation of things brought on by a material upheaval when every structure is for a moment thrown off balance and an ephemeral wildness sweeps order away, that the poet slips something by, for a brief span.”—Hélène Cixous, from The Laugh of the Medusa
A Narrative of Certain Years in No Particular Order, Part the First
I decide not to go to college. My parents eye me increasingly warily. I take a temp job in a sad building on top of a hill. I feel like a ghost. I file insurance papers belonging to dead people, I think about them, in the dark little rooms where I file. I repeat their names, like chants. They are ceaseless, relentless in their dying, in the filing. Every morning I sit in the car and wait for Star Date to come on the AM radio. I love the woman’s voice, so resigned as she announces in her 30 second snippet where the stars and planets are in the sky each day, like an inevitable fate. This is the marker of my days for many, many days. I go home after work, and sleep until I wake up again. Something unable to articulate itself sits on my chest, like that old painting of nightmares. Things get small and far away. I have a boyfriend. He is a chef, the youngest chef to ever have graduated from the culinary academy. He has a pain behind his eyes I don’t think I’ll ever see again. His mother killed herself when he was seven. His aunt shows me a picture of him as a child and I can’t recognize him. I search his face for a glimmer of who he used to be. I can’t find it. His father is a veteran, they share a one room shack behind a house. He takes care of his father, something I deeply admire him for. He drove him and his father in his father’s pickup truck from Iowa when he was twelve. It was the first time he had seen the ocean. He drove because his father was having a nervous breakdown. His father was a Transcendentalist, he teaches me how to meditate. He tells me I am a light, a beacon for people in pain, and to be careful.
“The ocean is becoming rough; the waves coming in slowly, tugging strength from far back. The moment before they somersault, the moment when they arch their backs so beautifully, showing white veins in the green and black, that moment is intolerable.”—Delmore Schwartz, from "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities"
“We may spend the better part of our lives projecting strength and toughness, but we are all in the end creatures of appalling fragility and vulnerability. Out of the millions of people we live among, most of whom we habitually ignore and are ignored by in turn, there are always a few who hold hostage our capacity for happiness, whom we could recognize by their smell alone and without whom we would rather die.”—Alain de Botton, from A Week at the Airport
“We will always be one of very few people in each others’ lives who understand the difference between who we are, who we say we are, who we’re afraid we are, and who we want to be. And we accept it all.”—_________, via a very profound rectangular conversation
“Even the ones who laugh are sometimes caught without an answer: these creatures who introduce themselves but we swear we have met them somewhere before. Yes, look in the mirror. What do you see? Are we being introduced against our will? Are they mirrors?”—The Log Lady, Twin Peaks
The word time split its husk; poured its riches over him; and from his lips fell like shells, like shavings from a plane, without his making them, hard, white, imperishable words, and flew to attach themselves to their places.
I am waiting to breathe the light. They say there will be a long tunnel, then light. Will I see, just for a moment? Seeing, what is it? Better than tasting, than hearing? I can feel the machines whirring; so big, so heavy. Something being pumped from a bag is a salty fire in the back of my right hand. “David,” they say “David, can you hear me? Are you in pain?” I think yes and the thought tastes like smoke, the smoke of the campfire we built on the beach. Driftwood and dried seaweed. Was it spring or fall? We sang. I remember her voice coming toward me over the sand, coming back again over the water. Later when she read to me, oh how like a warm washcloth, a dog’s lick. Now everything hurts: that taproot in my brain is a cruel finger, pushing every button as I go down floor by floor by floor. The pain is so loud: a trumpet blowing the strangest sounds. Now footsteps— are they coming or going? Lemony voices. I am waiting for the light. Breathe. Will it be blue like six? Breathe. Pink like up?
*from the funniest sentence** I have ever read while tipsy and trying to fall asleep at 2:00 in the morning:
Down there in grots of fallen light a cat transpires from stone to stone across the cobbles liquid black and sewn in rapid antipodes over the raindark street to vanish cat and countercat in the rifted works beyond.
One of Brang’s subjects was able to see the year as a circular ring surrounding her body. The “ring” rotated clockwise throughout the year so that the current month was always inside her chest with the previous month right in front of her chest.