Sensory stimuli are indistinguishable from the miasma that burns out of defects in her organs. The pressure on her eyes sculpts a flourishing chamber of lights with depth and shade. Glowing discs rise out and grow to fill the entire space, detailed arrays rise from the disc and undulate with arithmetical ease matching the pure logic of the sleeping absent city. It is all a memory. A visceral vibration that leaves the flesh unaffected, cycles with the sparkling pink of the crushed vitria. She finds the distancing relationships of geometric alienation in the orbs of her own eyes. She presses deeper with her knuckles and the light peters out in a single circular wave leaving a cavern of darkness and senselessness. She feels the cool conditioned air against her forearms wrestling her from vast oblivion.
On a landmass that is always sinking into that sea she climbs continually. When she finds sleep in dry security she awakens drowning in rising shadowy dampness. She watches through the pickets that line her canal the doors of apartments hanging open, shade, carpet, and mirrors, and the dropping sun in reflections, stopped and still burning white. She kicks her foot across gray battens and silver weathered boards that bound the sidewalk. She stands on the sidewalk side of this wall just a few paces along its length. All shadows make their way toward the horizon, marching in unison and slowly turning pale, before being all washed into dim beneath the great shadow of the sea. She drowns there, fluid, drifting into some alcove or beneath an open shelter, draped in marine umbra.
The sun is behind the tail of the cloudband, far to the south. The clouds have encroached on the beach to the extent that their steely underbellies are visible. The sea to the south shimmers with white dashes. The rest of the ocean is black. The sky between the clouds and the ocean is white, then pale blue, then gray. Every bit is on its own course. The sun is on my face and neck then it is gone. It is easy to watch the day become finite. I know that it is all changing. It is all moving forward, yet not recognizably around me. In the sunlight I feel every moment slip away while it happens. The day is a series of recollections. My life spirals away in the sun and dry breeze but I let it fall into those immediate recollections that I neednt experience. I know the day ends then is another day.
With each petite sweep of the limbs a breath retains light; with each cycle the body draws a breath; with each breath the reflection from the cave walls transform, dripping surfaces, hollows with becalmed limbs dreaming of action, crevasses masticate shadowy crotches, crooks, groins, pits, arches, cages, smalls, napes, deliberately touching each body in the hall with irritating dampness. The fourth body. The mechanism replays, involuntary, draws a breath, the body splayed limply from station to station, each being merely a twitching sign on a knot of fabric riding a pleat through a pulmonary void, exhale. Whatever lines had been traced into the dew on skin, either naturally or by intent, have been buffed gently since dusk by the action of fluttering limbs.
All of those solid lost moments, all of the wide open eyes laying beneath bury you from below. The tension on your lungs and your heart from inside constricts their chambers and sacs with the nagging weight of trifling thoughts and complexes until they are crushed from within or pulled to pieces floating alongside the unforgettable slipstreams of guilt. You breathe laboriously. But the slight fragments of you are not guilty, nor are you, now. When you drown you will be nothing. The fragments of objects and scenarios from a desperately recent past align in the thickness of the lagoon to create a perfect window out to the unlit and starless sky. All day you drown and every night you spit out the humors and misdeeds that clog your chest, run down your shirt, and fill your shoes.
Where crests of sand were scribed by wavelets, fine sand is let loose into the air. It drifts high against your arms and chest and crackles in your teeth. Salt breaks on your neck and sticks against your upturned collar. The beach is smooth and the sky is bright and black. Everything is apparent. Things dont cause other things. Everything is, but separate. Are they in order. When you happen again and again is there anything left from the others. When have you wronged. Is the guilt from a post-dated wrong. Everything has an edge that at different times pretends different things. It can open up with a diaphanous imitation of inclusiveness, but the things that float into the tentative midst are themselves closed and tired, unaware. You are conscious only that you end.
She lets wash away upon the breathing lights throbbing through the chamber, the residual profiles of her presence in the world through which her eyes float, through where there were things and stimuli. There is no respite in touching wood, vinyl, or chrome surfaces. Dead edges struggle to continually outline her body with incongruent lines that draw rooms through which she has no capability of passing. The stasis of all those canceled things, objects, abandon their impetus for being here in her company. Freed from histories, conceptions, and correlations, the desires from which she was wrought and the reconfigurations that nest her body into the world of things sparkle only in the brilliant, rosy median between grief and joy.
Wood drifting out of the old seas of preoccupied days upon still sandbars, or kept, after waters recede, in the obstructed arcades and embedded routes that burrow through rooms and chambers in order to open at some point along the water, grows silver and desiccated. You should simply sink. Drowning is a death that preserves your form. A slow saline impregnation just below the seaside city sidewalks, the sun plays down through suspended silt to heat the salt from the water, to replace your matter slowly with silt and salt upon water vapor in the shape of the cavity you have evacuated. The water about your calves flows. Thready ripples fan out in a wake trailing in the direction from which you came yet you are still.
At my table the still flood of time, with me in it, begins from whence it ended. I dont know that the earth or sun are moving, that the tides are ebbing or clouds churning, that someone is walking in the sun or laying in the dim, that the late afternoon glare shines through dust floating in my apartment, that my body decays, that my heart is pumping and blood is pooling in my feet. I dont need to. So much of living is sleep that I dont need my body at all. When there is nothing I only need faith that time is moving forward. Out under the wide open sky that faith isnt possible. If I had the control in there to abandon my body, abandon the world and let myself expire, out here I am alive and heavy. I cast a pale shadow on the sand; if I lay here long enough it will stretch into the dunes and desert.
Bodies form coats ‘round other bodies, nest’d layers of the character, which must be taken by the fingertips and pulled aside to gain egress from the body, into the night. Beyond the coat flaps, upon the carpet, stands a hall seen through a deep recess. The coat opens within the crevasse of two tumbledown towers of stacked linen. Upon a breath the coat pulls shut. The coat opens within a hall of metal chair legs nested and stacked in columns. Were this a cavern, these inverted scapes would be uncharacteristically straight and staccato. Were the body, the character, to calve with the folds of the coat, into subsequent bodies, it would be left, peel’d, satiny refrigerant dewcovered and wavering beneath stacked chairs, between linen columns, pleated immaterially into a lavender night.
Out on the sidewalk or in the weeds and dust you arrange, quantify, and recall the clots of mess that have flowed back toward you against the falling tide, where they collect strange notions that discourage recollection or closure, or absolution. All night you drown in those confusing or stolen memories. The humid electric air is thick; your body disappears within it. The solidity and stability of every edge of you tingles with grog. Sleep in the warm bath of night. Let the emptiness of your body, between all of its lost nodes, swell with warm wet steam and evaporating blood. You fill with water and sink in pieces. The solid things in a vaporous night fall through the refracted moon and distant green kitchen light and rise to condense on windows and mirrors with dusky steam for a body.
You wonder about rolling over onto your back. The sea has receded. There are no in between positions, no engagements. You are a series of pairs. You and the sea, the sand, you and me, the darkness, the dimness, you and you, dreamy afterbirth, you are passed from station to station, each one you and an action, you walking, you prostrated, you dozing, you appearing, disappearing, and reappearing from plat to plat, you stealing, you longing, you forgetting, you beginning. The sun shines hot in the white bulb of morning. You walk across the sand. Your feet are hard and borrowed. You dont feel them. Who does. You feel the heat from the sand rising beneath your dress. Your stockings sweat and sweat between the stockings slowly seeps and rolls back to the sand.