What of the inexorable descent of that sun, of the day objects now in shade, sweating? The roads grow shorter. They evade the protraction of night by standing beneath poles waiting for the streetlamps to bloom, stretching out on lawns before high black walls, banks of darkened windows waiting to be cast in warm light through slightly parted curtains, hanging beneath the dome lamp in the cab of an auto whose coated windows translucency is opaque from within, shielded from the darkness in a perpetual twilight riven with the beads running in greater numbers down the glass. These are many conditions of night, many postures of the dark and lost of which this impoverished dwelling she longs toward is just one.
Inside, your traipsing gaze draws away from draping sacred sunlight, an accidental occurrence, every afternoon forever, and back through the dim and straight passageway. Dim in late afternoon, with eyes under spells of distraction or detached consciousness in descent, still objects awaken momentarily to creep from the apex of the tides. With them you continue to wash and stains rise high onto the walls and out into the open porch, dusty traces from soft dirt and lint drifts that have blown away. Stains and flakes remain preserved nostalgically, or as deterrents. The ruinous apartments where these collect await the tide to rise up and cleanse them, or sweep them away entirely, to deposit them on ahead, or back through some nights on a street closer to the sea.
I had thought that I would spend the stretch of the day watching the sun move across the sky, marveling at how the sky changed and how the sky changed time, how it gave me back time by letting me watch it happen. I would see the sun framed through tree branches, low atop the end of a narrow alley. When it wandered the skies I would find my way in a loop back to my apartment, making amends with empty faces of buildings on the sidewalks and the carpark courtyards that swallow the sun. I would stop at every window and buff it with my sleeve, wipe down every doorknob to every apartment, and seal the city off in a clean corner to be buried by time and dust. In bed, in the dim, without my body oddly visible from my own eyes, plans to fill the day with this are plausible.
The fragile body of flesh, which is always returned to, is the critical point between atmosphere and setting. Through the night, the perpetual readjustings, contortions, rasping, and decay of a cloudy body insistently cycling pose and gesture bring a mark’d change in the position of the bodies in relation to the chair legs and textile pattern. This vibrating locomotion caused by the repetitive sequence of internal movements exerts a rote series of effects on the encapsulating rind that plies the damp underbelly of the body slightly away from the carpet and spreads it down a slight distance away from its initial place of rest. An ephemeral stain lingers within the irregular perimeter of the initial place of rest; a watery shadow is cast in the dark.
You close your eyes. Destroyed faces bloom out of spots all clustered together featureless afire. You step onto the rim of the bathtub in the dark to the high window and wipe an arc of condensation with the side of your hooked hand. The sky is flat and brown over the purple brick wall outside. You push yourself up through the window. In each diminishing instant you are captured, arms hanging forward, ankles crossed and hair draped in a stringy cloak seeking the pavement, in every flying drop of water across the sky, from one to the next, upward into the clouds and from each you see to the next. You breathe out the coolness in your lungs and it is you. You breathe out the cool dampness from cloud lungs and it is you. It gathers on her window and she watches the night through it.
Your footsteps are awake. You breathe through them. Their pattering whispers through concussion in your breath. Your eyes squint against bright breeze washing across the canyonettes and rifts off of the main thoroughfare. Bits of paper and fluff and foam totter and swing in the pulses of dry air that cross the street. The light filling the clouds plastered high arching from the west doesn’t show onto the faces of buildings or turns of branches. The air itself is light and hot with the coming rain. Everything is momentarily shadowless and bright in the round. The papers and frothy bits turning over on the air are flat white reflectors. Your hands and feet washing through the street are a coagulation of charged gas, a trapped accident.
Her eyes have gazed in error at a new face reflected each night on the outside of the windscreen, roamed the darkened palmy bowers that separate the roads from the walls, traced iron railings in straight flights of open stairs, hovered outside ground floor windows, cast silhouettes in high windows, fixed upon that door directly at the top of the stairs, ascended, given tentatively in to the dim door frame, communicated the notions of home in a city that had none, a high plain rolling into populous black buttes, back with the trepidations about apartments across the short lawn into her mind. She grasps the door frame and presses her forehead against the glossy door, slowly rolling downward to press her nose, lips, chest, hips, and toes over the threshold.
The lowered sun fills the whitewashed porch with gentle dry warmth, emptiness amidst driftwood and nets, submersion that cascades in front of the open door, also swelling with empty luminance. The sun reflects white in a parked auto windscreen. Over the crest of the sidewalk dim explosions float from doorways where colors and reflections subside and slough away. You will wait long enough and the etiolation washes through you. It moves when you move, although sliding back toward the open water whilst pulling shades down ‘cross these upsloping roads. Do not meet it passively. Stride into it. You wash into neutrality and anemia. She penetrates further inland, centerless amongst the crossings and convolutions of the route. She steps from the open door.
I thought about accidents happening. I planned accidents. Maybe I would find myself at that beach. It would begin to rain. Something would begin to surface in me. I didn’t plan her. I have known since I came to be here that she would happen and take the idle things that block out time into something I fuss back upon. Faces rising out of the endless sheets of paper and my face onto the desk were always the same face, her featureless face. In the mess of the papers that I fold up and put in my pocket, her face was an intangible curiosity that I could produce to slow down the empty space of that place. It fit in between the cycles of the fluorescent light, it stopped me from seeing my body. But it was long enough, and then there was nothing else. It was an accident that she was real. She still must be.
Low borne clouds slink past. Involuntary eddies gasp through the refrigerant fog bank. When they are chilled, cohering into an increasingly corporeal cloud, the catalytic characters of sheen and glimmer accentuate the familiar features of the visible surfaces in the hall. Such effects hint at continuity and possible remoteness. The collusive essences of light, vista, atmosphere, and diligence, insinuate an external force in the movements of the watery curtain. There is the insistence, through atmospheric theatrics, that these phenomena are reflections from beyond the doors. The characters return by rote to their swollen states but left behind is a passing shadow, a change of color. When the cloud parts, the plane of light bisecting the hall snaps into absolute midnight clarity, tinged with rose.
The light from her window runs through the clouds multiplying into a wild flame. It passes through you and throws you all across the sky, omnipresent and inseparable from sea to desert. You feel things. Your stomach sinks, the blood throbs in your feet and fingers until it comes to rest beneath tingling splitting skin spreading across the paving. With pain the most distant fragments of your vast body override everything in between and claim the entirety of past, future, solid, breath, thought, and consequence. You are only the fretful stomach. You are the rotted and degraded foot. The physicality of discomfort and the consuming reflection on pain are tethered to the earth, they have mass, and with it they plummet from the fumes of emotion and memory.
You are washed away by so little. Little holds you together. In a remote thought, dust clotted lipid eyes far away in a mirror, looking directly into themselves and the sensation of water under your heels, between breeze and the sting of the afternoon rain you can go to bits. The moment is neither yours nor yours to be in and it creeps with malicious assortments of living questions. With nothing in control there is no predestination, no desire, but insurmountable buffeting of your particulate flesh, you yearn to be given over to deafness or narcotic sleep, folded in distraction, or to be ravaged by the vacuum into enough small pieces that any winkings of emotion propping up your body and experiencing the passage of time are severed and tranquilized. You relate to nothing.