Chase Scenes, first half (3)

Far away again in autumn. The sunlight through a flat cloud as you stood on the sidewalk outside a door without a handle flat into the glazed bricks was quiet. The one week of the year had come across trees that had enough leaves on them to blot out the southern sun and the shade was warm enough to sit out in. You spent the long afternoon in a plaza downtown sitting on the swept bricks. In the absence of those faces you couldn’t retain your eyes filled with the white sky. You worked your way back through the mosaic, around cavernous voids that you could feel between your eyes and your skull where whole weeks had been handed over to some black vessel willfully, intentionally. You rock back and forth in the gathered up twine of time hanging down from Atlanta. In some phrases you are there, like now, under a sparse pear tree in the plaza, or slipping back down, not as a journey into that empty Valley, but a plummet, or a twinkling transmigration into a moment. When you began at the end, as a human destination with a trail let out behind it, there was nothing concrete enough to withdraw from but the euphoria of the continuing tides of the hotel, to step backwards from your death and gaze upon it from life. You knew the debris that ended every story. The same things with different connotations. You felt like a bronze cast.

In the blowing air you walked to your apartment through the immense hush of the vacuum left in the absence of your written words, your dry voice, the desert still air. The night silent of voices so that every creak in the air shocks your heart like a distant gunshot tamps the impulse to live backwards into the words that name the sounds. They were all gunshots. You have cultivated an ear for expressive quiet sounds. The gentle pat of folded laundry falling onto the stack or the shiver in the joints of the stretching cat standing to acknowledge you, creates silence, even through the throb of unfamiliar solitude. They don’t overwhelm it, but they create a small spatial echo of peace.
You bought spiral pasta and a can of corn downstairs and ate in the window. When you sleep you don’t see the space of the silence as you thought you might: a broad valley with tangible air, where space and container are one, like molten glass filling a sand mold. You have been conjuring the feeling around your face of emptiness, like a silent shell to your ear.

In the apartment again you disappeared. The cat had shed so much fur in your absence that you could hardly see your arms stretched before you. You knew in inarticulate sparks what you meant, what form the expression of your physicality would take, how it would be uttered, its tone, ethos, rhythm, you knew how it would be measured and what its perimeter would engage and what it would envelop, it was always changing through the spiraling and undulating phases of a liquid galaxy and you could never stop it to live its representation, or to put your arms through it and bring it into language. You felt like if you screwed up your eyes enough a face to match yours upon would turn up out of the fog of scuffed cornea, borrowing colors from the bland corners of the room. You saw a bare lit window in the facing leg of the cruciform building. Deep in the blank apartment the minimal contours of a man’s familiar face like wax were pulled out of the room’s light into the hallway by three men’s shadows. You turned away and searched for something real you could have done for him. There was no gulf between you. When you end, he ends. You are continuous beings. You experience the dizziness of the night together. You foresee the hours ahead in which he would tremble in the too bright sun of fast morning, knowing you would come back for him, like he would have for you, but you didn’t, and the skew life you had in that hopelessly exchanged look didn’t seem to add up to anything that excuse the way you left him alone. He had skin that disappeared in sunlight, it became the sky.

That winter you were receiving hearing aid and retirement information in the mail. You start dressing like an old man. The way you had fabricated your insides. It was a disguise to force your skin to catch up to your flesh. There was nothing recognizable in your experiences. One thing passed the next and all of the days sat atop one another, obscuring their predecessors and drifting like a boat frozen into an iceberg, your hair and beard frozen into place around your blue eyes and peacefully toothy snarl.

You layered on your clothes on a dim winter morning with longjohns, flannels, sweaters, cowls, mufflers, gloves, a wide soft hat, and at midday on the swept bricks of the plaza downtown, sat in the crook of a wall and read your written logs all the way through. The sky drooped between the skyscrapers and was siphoned towards you and enswirled the bases of the buildings in the same soft oiliness of the cat fur bunnies that overtook your room. You felt like a pill in a bottle. You read what unfolded in stipples as a vaticinating argument you once had with yourself siding against your existence in time and your existence in your self, it was a wandering verbal picaresque catalog whose implicit protagonist never moved from a single apartment and prattled in a voice with no body and fifty thousand hooked black legs. They reached out from beneath a white door to a locked room and began tickling down your throat, enough to make you smirk at first, but after hours in the cold they had filled your lungs and run scaly beneath your clothes. The voice didn’t say anything, it just bore you down into the bricks. You looked up from the ground into the gentle sound of the rattling dry leaves, wanting it to sound like the pollarded plane trees in breeze but it didn’t. Your feet are blood heavy and heavy shod, and you fear about that the involuntary perpetuity of your circulation has been corrupted. One-footed pigeons swelled and stumbled across the bricks.

You make your way back into the belly of the hotel. The cold air sweeps in through an unseen vestibule with an ozonish timbre. You consider when you began to exist. You at that moment and you walking to a beach as a thunderstorm sweeps across the Atlantic let the light from the low ceilings against the ribs of the hollow clear your skin. You are polarized, there, in the past, and here, in body, experiencing the past. The cleavage allows you to exist around the middle ground which is necessarily erased. Before him and after him, but not having to live through that short passage. You have forgotten that you chased the emptiness here, and then were stranded, because time begins branching out from that chasm of choice in divergent directions collocated.

The roil of stimuli around you stopped immediately, only in the nearest pocket of air. Beyond it people chased their voices with an impression of their certitude within the motions that their hands followed and their eyes tracked that came in framed spurts, well lit, with the intent of an analogy. Behind each act, each breath, was a question of what you wanted it to be. You reached to your breast pocket, but inside you the black and gray blood flowed down your back from a pulp of an anatomy, into your legs and out of your head and suddenly the air upon you was filled with a drowsy salon of faces.

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