Her memories of shapes, profiles, and volumes of these things are folded into the inert hollows of her closed eyes. The lights bursting across her eyelids do not invoke the catalog she distances herself from; the eyes float free of their communicative tethers. Why dream of chairs and bureaux in a night filled with fluid light and cool clear blood swirling through careening vitria. What rattles forth is an anguished collection of the senses of a body blind and numb from the start. The senses merely close a zone around her body that engulfs stucco walls, asphalt glimmers, particleboard telephone alcoves, and doorknobs her gaze passes translucently through. She and those purely evocative parentheses are left afloat in a boundless storehouse of memory shivering to find its forms.

The water drops, leaving a darkened wash from the high water mark on your stocking. The water falls beneath a second pair of stockings rolled to just below your ankles and recedes down to the sidewalk in front of a recessed porch beneath an apartment facing the street. Silver smooth webs of driftwood branches lean against the wall beneath an overhang in a drift. Precarious in lunar gravity they cast lengthening liquid shadows on the whitewashed board and batten. Pinned and draped behind the wood a collection of gray frayed fishing nets is discarded. A single door hangs open on darkness beyond the debris. A carving of an osprey with wings flatly outstretched on a shield marked with the faces of lions, head and beak turned east, stoic, hangs east of the door, above the driftwood.

I have been here for days. I see the sunshine passing by on the wood floor in the front room. This isnt the place where night happened. It is too porous and indefensible. In the morning the white sunlight shows the dust in the corners, hanging at the top of the walls, and beneath the table, the arm chair, and the bed. It casts shadows. Someone looking over the horizon is right in my window, shadowless. I feel a pressure in my head. It pulls inward. The steam or the wetness is trying to press through the side of my eye. I sleep indiscriminately and I wake up in different phases of the sun. I think about sleeping at my table, without the sun. When I am there the sun falls into the apartment in the same way it is now. I have thought the stillness is old.

Even the most vigilant components of the sleeping body are, adrift in the curtainscape of night, consumed in blond obscurity. The stria of blond light refracts through the cloudy coat, shed from the body, and projects a hand reaching out to dip fingers into the mist, pinching the hurtling beadlets to hold them to the body. Brassy chairlegs, clutched between pale blue fingers that hold the body firmly in the hall, drawn out on the rug, when the character, drifting out from it upon the cloud, is built and torn to gauzy fineness by refrigerated air and by fluorescent moonlight. These recreated tropes of night coat scrutiny and incongruity over the character, which, covered in a highly suggestive surface, quietly refracts the surroundings without context or scale in an artificial pose.

Beneath the kitchen table she has laid out a large, thin overcoat, rumpled arms casually but deliberately folded across its chest. Dampness on the slick painted walls catches her pacing shadowfalls high on the wooden ceiling. You remember the room, the ceiling. You pull your dress around yourself. Your eyes open onto rooms. The shadows and glimmers of apartments, long cool nights and damp bedclothes rustle together around you. Why do you claim to yourself to recall the walls, how the ceiling sloped and the moonlight fell on the brick wall across the alley. Why would you have been there. Who would have seen you, but her, laying beneath the kitchen table, watching your shadow shiver across the asphalt, then slink off the street and appear high on her ceiling.

The entire sky is black and simple for a moment. A thin rain falls. Your feet kick the sand away from the asphalt and low steam rocks from side to side while the streets are slaked. You walk and stop. The rain falls on your hair. Oily water traces down your neck and between your shoulderblades. It should irritate you. It stops there on your back and you feel it with all of your skin. The rain falls before everything that stacks up across the sand to fill the day. It fills in and smooths away footprints. The apartment blocks look soft and pliable and the rain eases the stucco into richer shades and washes the dust from the gray fronds and needles that flutter in front of fences that disappear into the curtain of the front advancing into the horizon. That is everything.

The limbo of these ephemeral constructs is hesitantly penetrated by an emerging physical pressure. She is withdrawn from the pressure of all surfaces and atmospheres; she is not supported or touched. The sensation arises from the void manifesting itself in the disruption of the particulate patterns within the globes of her eyes. Her eyes being slowly immersed in a burgeoning tingle, her bare presence lofted upon incarnadine webs of light that prick forth memories of the body. The flesh wraps and folds across the hollow surface of the eye to form a wickerwork vortex of light. The vortex is not a passage. It is terminal, a vessel. At the center of the vessel is a darker rose of light in the process of being snuffed out by her knuckle. The world of reaction and constraint bears upon her.

Flattened by afternoon shade of the dead end apartment your face alone is captured immaterially reflected in a small mirror through the shade swelling within the open door. Your face, brass eyebrows and spun dim lashes, peeled away from the sunlight sidewalk, you cannot touch your blank features. Your remote face has taken with it the late warmth of the sun whose radiance, from the end of each hair, begins to glow outward across the wall on which the mirror hangs in a lethargic single wave, swelling from the center of the mirror yet not expanding beyond its frame. When the simple molding in the reflection at the floor and ceiling wash into view the molding in the emerging passageway wavers into view, growing more defined as it is closer to the mirror.

The walls are decaying into powder and blowing into creeping sands. The thick paint stays. It is built up in change and neglect, the bark of a desert tree, sickness of the brain. In the afternoon I sweat in the bed, the dust burns. The sky, the ocean and heavy things fill the days I am away. This empty apartment slips into soft dusk, the shadows fan into shade and into darkness. Why not stay away. Why not seal the windows with heavy curtains filled with weights, turn on all the lamps and wait. I think it could end that way. The sun will keep rising and falling and slipping twixt clouds and sand will drift high against walls and the door will rust shut in the sea breeze and I wont go back there. The numbers will fall off of the wall and they wont come here. No one comes. The palms scratch at the windows.

Bodies rising from the stupor of repetition bring a continuity of sense through the nested character. Out before it, alert digits, pale blue skin, veins translucent in fingers where veins are atypical, trace out windows to bare metal through dew condensing on the abutting layers of chairlegs. Brown crust, flaky drifts collects around the elliptical feet of the chairlegs. Touch flakes, crush between fingertips, shavings of sallowed shellac. Fragments of the hall, bits contained in each breath toward a hall that is also a body: a pale linear luminance, vertical parallel soft edge’d shadows, a sea of droplets, each refracting milk-colored flowers. Among tableaux of information, none is more recognizable than that hand, several fingers looped, to grip the chairleg, yet loosely laying upon the rug.

In a cool night with storms hovering offshore, beyond the sandbars and canals, the walls glisten with damp. Long lamps throw deep yellow light across water rippling broadly. The leading edge of the wavelets carry the light to you in diminishing stacks. The city is all reflective, covered in damp skins, open windows and dim mirrors in barely dark corners. You are reproduced in tiny reflections of dewy coats and prismatic waves of brackish dark water. You see nothing, buried in time and dust. The apartment lights snuff out. She sees you from beneath the kitchen table. Early in the day, stepping out of the sea, your face, green with sea lights, filled the bathroom mirror, now in the darkness, refracts across the glossy walls of her apartment, or from a distance, or from the past.

At the end of the road the rain hangs in a pale curtain where the edge of the sky opens onto the desert. When you stop under a tree you feel its bark. Nothing. It is damp. Your fingers are damp. The road doesnt end in this direction. That doesnt mean anything, then there is the desert where days are nurtured in the emptiness. You should want to lay down in the cradle of hot rocks and sandy fire. You have nothing to turn yourself into. The notes on the papers are yours, you hide them in your pockets. Your nests are washed away at night. Things are ruined. Then at morning more and more things back up against the storm sewers. The refuse is yours. Everything is left behind. The road keeps going. All that is left to be yours are the walking and the desert rain stopped up in the washes.

previous page 10 of 39 next page