[All the fragments walk to jobs where they are paid to be fragments. Their shoulders bend obsequiously away from the morning, jettisoned by force to various altars. Their eyes muse elsewhere, somewhere perhaps less religious, more humane. But then, I only obsess over the dreams of my own eyes enough to perceive a westward direction, nowhere in particular. The fragments’ pink, sinewy lips weave stories or remain chapped in silence. In both cases this is for individual benefit. The words in curls of talk mingle sometimes with the acrid smoke curling from sewage-grates, fanned away by the odd hat. Garbage and exhaust griming the façades of buildings and the innumerable particles of skin are all a part of the dirt that is a dust almost moisture, something vulgarly nameless in it indicating growth, billowing out upon the unlovely impact of one hurled hefty trashbag by men who don’t care anymore, into a mass grave of hefty trashbags in the back of a dumptruck with fetid stink. The CITY air is diseased. The dust is swept into the street and from there has nowhere else to go but into my lungs. The dirt hidden in the air and piling up as we breathe, thriving in shapely sinews between our teeth, passing through our sinewy, chapped, chaste lips. Other limbs, blotted from view by other fragments, and those fragments, squarely blotted by others. Hundreds of fragments squeezed like rotten sardines, improperly sealed, the source of this perhaps in a factory malfunction. Somewhere in the depths of assembly line another snoozing on the sealant. Sardines, all! Lurching down the street and walking on top of each other and together shaking the Earth, melding together all their half-selves into a great two-faced laughing half-living giant Penumbra!–they do not notice, and their hands rustling together and off like a flock of birds, and our big, fat WORLD does not notice what I know that day, and I and I only notic,e with fear, the space inching, inching yet again into the morning, inching like a spider, a lethal spider, that is spidering on slowly, on through the line, with eight hairy legs; that keeps me itching things that don’t itch in the first place. Except sometimes I really have to itch myself, and I feel like a faker if the itches prior to that one are not real. Like I don’t deserve to have a real itch: like I should only itch when I need to hide, and any other time would be to disregard the rules of my life. But I have come to know by now that people do not care about the rules of my life, they pay more attention to that insufferable thing, that—thing, for there, in full pursuit, in all of us, was a space of unutterable nothingness, itself suspended in a different, further nothingness, a space of intensity that rung in my ears, a thing that was yearning itself be filled, yearning, crying, every day, always somewhere sensed, as we walk, up and down, on the flat, chary pavement of our streets.
I think of the gack and tar, straying in puddles throughout. Collapsed potholes.
I scratch my nose and there is no itch in it when I do this. Thing is I feel like a faker if I have to do this silly fake thing just so people won’t look at me in a strange way.
The swine in suits now, they are a race now, a curlytailed, whole simulacrum, doling out to the WORLD their sentiments about your inferiority, throwing around their weight, their nervy overstressed superiority and general chauvinistic self-regard, like a race now—swine power—and the swine, in their suits, waiting at the BUSSTOP.
They are dirty like chewed gum and spit together flattened on the pavement. The spine of tire imprints scuffing the tracks of the loafers and boots and sneakers and the socks within them to cover the feet of untranquil bodies, swaying as if hung aloft by a string, waiting for the coming BUS.
All huddled from the pain of wind beneath a small black shelter made and pelted by the CITY over-dramas, both the old ones over with, and the new ones, but it’s all already over with, it was born over with, whatever daily creeps in, any weeping reprobate can find outlet. I hate them though, The Over-Dramas. Dramas! All of anything that communicates the humanity of another I despise, because it is a lie.
What a stop: this damned drab spot. Cracked, with red sanctuaries of rust here and there. A BUSSTOP made and pelted by the CITY minds and the streets.
People in suits you’d never know, and probably wouldn’t understand, standing so close you can see their Pimples and Pores and whatnot, and their Eyes aching. Where people huddled, away from themselves, most crucially themselves, they, clutching to some still-quiescent reserve, like the way the staples hang off their skin. Well not their skin.—
Other skin, thicker skin, stretched over the bubble of every person’s real face, stapled in a strange bubble formation.
Sometimes the bubble gets hot and boils under the skin, you know, putting pressure on the staples, and the bubble hisses the blood and bones and gack through truant veins, gack that come out through the rips and tear apart your body like a doll. But that is only done if you are too long in hiding. When you hide your face under your skin for too long.
I may sound insane, I’m not insane.]
The Wind blows more than ever that day like a vacuum that tries to suck up everything so it can know everything. And yet it is sultry, it is heeding winter. Cold all the same. Made colder when distilled by the passage of day to dark. You should know I hate the dark as much as I hate the wind. On cold nights I awake to the fearful darkness. The stately Roman edges of the buildings of our CITY are manicured by the wind.
Our CITY’s extensive industrial plateau lets free the gusts like an animal formerly chained. The gusts trim aborted newspapers from the streets, meandering like snips of hair down, collecting on your barber’s floor. Natural stuff that gets trashed, like toenails. At least, for the CITY natural.
The caved cement valleys between buildings that to some are alleyways are to me valleys, not alleyways, and the buildings, themselves, sooty mountains. The valleys are humid fissures between buildings knocked into our CITY like dents. They construe the drafts within our lungs from the outside blowing. The drafts whirl past us as we walk: anointing with rage the valleys not alleyways, and within deep sound human; and they inflate the shirts hanging out to dry like a fat human.
And, the entire theater of our CITY, pushing as a clock into service, the prolix of everything pushing pinion to pinion. I view it all: and the mountains that are buildings, and the humid valleys, not alleyways, between the mountains so fat and woebegone, and yet, at the same time, it is all so genius, so sprawlingly efficient.
My window, a wide perfunctory face, huffs itself with steam and cold. Stubbles of frost had developed around the frame overnight. I awaken to the sound of my windowpanes being thrashed by the wind. I watch them seize like a muscle flexing, then droop down again as the wind departs. Then flex, and droop, and on the whole throb rancorously, which made sense, for in my dreams [for I had been sleeping] there had assimilated the inaccurate vision of a bloated heart, and only that, straining and beating with the panes: so let us say I dream that and do not see the glass squares, plastering loudly against their wooden frames, pleading for support, but rather see the beat, and the beat, of my heart.
To this racket I awaken: a low thud against that last cuff of dreams, that last mist before waking, which so many people are able to get through, then wake up from, from the mist, to all this that grows around me. I sensed it had rebelled off the thickness of my skull, as I slept, and now, or soon, it rebels again, and again, off the thickness of my skull, that day, it rebels; another spread of wind, like you know, maybe, like jam, spread like a thick, sticky jam of the wind, in fierce little haste to release its horde of jam-filled locusts: yes: they are locusts, and they are all over my poor window, they are rapping upon my sticky skull: both almost become unhinged, and thereupon, I wake up.
My feet would be cold when I put them to the wood I think and the air around me and the frosty window is cold I think so I hold my breath. I clench my buttocks and I put my feet down to the wood. After that, I go to the window. I feel the window as I fix the hinges. The window is sultry, burning, boiling. The wind is what I will continue to remember,
but, you know, the important things happened before the day happened, before I got up, even, and got to work late. But, the waking smell,
it was the dry smell of wind and of morning. That smell of dormant air soon freshened by morning, likewise the daily morning rot in the mouth decides not to be there, that day, I smell my breath and it is oddly fresh. Like God is getting me fluffed for the performance to come.
God is getting me ready for something big, I think.
I have come to know my life as profoundly sculpted by that day. A singular cross and hedge of time that proved and disproved every thought I’ve ever had about life. All of it was like being in a movie: because I judge my days on how I first feel the rest of that restive day felt movie-like, like a lapse had occurred in the space-time continuum, and the events of that day were handed over to some nebulous yawn of the universe, to be played and copied over and over secretly by God only, until one day our CITY by incalculable chance nets a copy and plays it: the frayed unfocused effigy dripping out my eyes like glue, because it stuck with me: ha: get it: sticky: that day:
Yet, as that day was played out, what should have happened was played out in my eyes, and they overlapped and clashed against themselves, what could have happened and what did happen; and it makes me think it all could have gone differently had I decided not to be a nut. [WEEPS INSIDE]
The situation that day was uncertain in all cases but was especially anxious I sensed to lay bare any passing doubt I had, especially as to exactly where the humanity of things was located, in people, in things, so that at times I felt positively sociopathic, until I realized that this was a humanity alone that my thoughts would entreaty, and might not be the thoughts of others, an idea which seemed to fluctuate with the weather, that day, that is, between human and inhuman, because the wind was strangely warm and things around it were cold, except for the window.
The strangeness of it all was probably God trying to show me the first of the contradictions of that day, and the hot humid air weighing everything down, but the objects, they are sinister and cold to the touch. Not cool capricious wind but a hot-blooded dog blowing up the skirts of our CITY, tapping hats off bald heads, overall not doing anything but fattening the air with high humid larks, while everything else, while the bronze balls of my bedpost of my bed remain cold enough to burn.
And my soul sways like my bedpost when I toss in sleep.
I’ll explain it best I can if I can’t explain it best.
I have toast. Eggs with ketchup. Etc. I have to go to the bathroom and after I urinate, I try to spit into the toilet-water. My phlegm drops onto the seat of the toilet instead so I lick the mass off the seat and spit it into the sink and turn the sink on to rinse the disgusting thing down the drain and when I come back to the table my breakfast is cold.
Lately, The Wind has been trying to turn my apartment into icebox.
It somehow worms itself, through fissures and cracks, shrinking itself briefly from despotism. As in, Wind, felling the frequent pulses of our CITY. As in, the king of the air. Graying the tinctures though the king is colorless. So far, this powerful force only manages, and dwindles. Cachoos that lightly conquer the moment in my place and do nothing more. They twirl around a bit then fall flat. Oh wind: limy hop-footed scavenger, you bully, you make do with small fissures and cracks happening about my house, just to freeze my eggs.
‘It would be cold,’ I had thought. I would be fine I tell myself. ‘I am rational now,’ I had thought. I remember saying to the nothing of my kitchen that I was ‘rational’ that day, and, nobody, nobody but Wind, whistling, elusive and invisible, Dominant, nobody but the curtain lapping, lapping bore audience to that remark.
First off, let me apologize. These thoughts are really tedious ones. Wind, Wind, Wind, over and over, I just keep babbling on about it. I promise I won’t talk about it anymore. I didn’t really think about it much that day besides the morning, when your senses are most vulnerable and your skin seems thinner, beckoning the pain of things.
This bemused observance in the Wind, I felt, throughout my adventure, this is true; but for the most part the Wind heated or froze eventually to no level more than what would cause an equivocal discomfort I impelled to the back of my mind.
I really don’t hold that much weight in my arguments, though. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I’ve been acting out these crazy sort of antics. Crazy people never hold that much weight in their arguments, I guess. But back to the antics: it doesn’t seem anything could go any other way. The antics are all I have. I feel like a rook in a chess game. I move from side to side and up and down only: there’s an abyss always deepening every place else besides up and down and side to side.
You’ll see what I mean.
I walk out of my apartment and my apartment is a threshold. Something sticks to my heels as I walk out of my apartment. Thus out of my life I go. Something sticks to my feet like tar, that sticks them, my feet, to the fused grit concrete SIDEWALK, like we were part of the grit all along. We just pulled out our roots moved around a little and got jobs.
And it causes these unexpected spasms, in my toes, my feet, like vessels pinching.—
I feel the observance I feel the pinch in my feet I close my eyes it pinches and I visualize a contrived lattice of pink bodily nerves in me, squeezing, pinching. I think this, and I wonder if that is what is happening in my body?
I walk down the phallic extension of concrete sidewalk, extending outwards, and feel like someone that lives in the sidewalk will grab me by the ankles and pull my feet under the gum and spit dotting the pavement, pull me under, where the slime flows like chocolate, in the sewer—and tell me things that I would rather not know.
I arrive at the BUSSTOP. There’s a man in a black suit, waiting, with a distinguishing white shirt against the blackness. The man in a black suit sucks his pores away through a cigarette he’s smoking. It is a breast. He does not hold the cigarette with his fingers but rather toys it about his mouth, as though he were picking his teeth with it, chewing it like food, letting it slide over the thin hammock of his lips and catching the filter between his teeth from time to time.
The cigarette, to me at least, seems to be a form of meditation for the man: as though he were tonguing his mind, with the slow rotation of the cigarette across his mouth.
I watch his stocky shoulders melt into his stocky hands, which will sit together complacently away in his pockets some hopeful moment soon, in the moments following, perhaps a bit longer, perhaps. And the limb used to hold the cigarette quitting its silly estrangement from warmth on this chilly day. For now, he smokes, so his hand freezes. The eyelids loll over his eyes. They look at nothing, looking as though intensely preoccupied with some intensely important nothing-matter.
I watch his lips stretch across to the molars, his teeth characterized by an erratic sneer, by those fleshy, baby-like parts the lips that all of us have—the same way a smile characterizes the teeth like a neat white phalanx. Or the way anger grits the teeth into white disorganized realms.
If one were to just see the teeth, without the lips, and face, to distinguish emotion; if they were to see the sole unvarnished skull, they would see only a wide neutral grin, draped below hollow sockets.
Maybe God made skulls that way because he wanted humanity to be happy all the time.
I lower my head with caution. My eyes are motors. They rotate upwards to watch the man in a black suit.
His enjoyment of the orange embers. Etc.
I try to crawl surreptitiously into his world, I try so hard I can almost see the specter of a human when I look at him. This doesn’t happen often. But maybe, I can grind all the pasty relics and shards of his life into something that makes sense to me, not just to him.
But it doesn’t work. Instead I become shallow and I see this man as a novelty. The shards become quaint things to me, weightless and blasé, as if they would sprinkle through the air with one final trademark Gust of the Wind.
These people wanting to get somewhere, but never really needing, just seeking: to fulfill a chophouse errand to an invisible place, a palace I never see but know it is there.
I’m not that crazy. Traveling people have these great looks of almightyfucking focus, like, whatever they’re doing is important to them, and that’s it. Always, and I know, they do it to mock me: because they think I don’t have Purpose like they do.
But they’re not really focused at all. They’re just focused on suckling the teat of the Great Faker even if they don’t know it.
I may sound insane: they’re all in on the joke of the Great Faker and know I’m not and they know I never will be, so I am ostracized simply because I don’t get the joke of the Great Faker.
But I do get the joke of the Great Faker.
It is made to seem like my life is meaningless because it does not ball itself up into the Great Faker’s Almighty Wad of ambition. I see people now laughing in cafés and swigging swigs from their moderately-priced lattes and laughing at me. I have no almighty wad, ball, to give myself I suppose. I’m not insane.
I shouldn’t have come out here they’re all just looking at me.
The Great faker turns you into something hollow like a rotten tree if you don’t have crazy antics like me. Remember what I told you about briefly? Those antics are the only way I know I am well, and still with enough capacity to avoid the Great Faker, at all.
Not antics. Routines. Routines that clog up the Space of Suspense in Nothingness. That get you to think you are untouchable. Which is the closest thing to being untouchable. The problem I have is that the WHITECOLLAR serfs of our CITY also seem untouchable, for some reason: subservience appears as a cause of itself, and repeats through the ages, ranking on beyond the best of us, that there be one above them.
The Almightyfucking Focus, I guess, keeps them from focusing on others. Thus, they seem untouchable, but in reality, they have been touched and fucked by the Great Faker, like vacant idiot dildos.
The Almighty Focus is a very telling trait of one who has whored himself off to the Great Faker, is chained to the serfdom of the Great Faker.
This Almighty Focus, that others have, and I do not, mocks my routines.
I’m telling you. I look on every day at these people. I see their bearded faces, motherless lips. Their clothes, the things that conceal them physically and mentally. Right? But,
I never see into the coils of their parts, their hearts that dangle in their bodies in a canary cage. They conceal them. There’s that word. Conceal. I suppose I had to use that word at some point, but I think it’s often incorrectly defined. Has the Great Faker taken them? I don’t know. [WEEPS INSIDE]
Yeah so what directs the heart? Besides the Great Faker I mean. Nothing directs the heart anymore. My heart’s gone away to live in Vegas off of my alimony. It’s gone.
I’m walking with no heart. I’m left here to the excrement swimming like still fish in the waters of the gutters. I cannot take much more of the Great Faker looking over my shoulder. I just want to forget about it all and give in.
Out of the corner of my eye I see the salty spindles of a goatee, and high cheekbones, and I know it’s the Great Faker, I know it’s him, I turn around and he winks at me, then turns back into another man waiting at the BUSSTOP, now. This man has a goatee as well. A less salty one, mind you.–
Then, I see the goatee and cheekbones again, but it’s only when I blink, after I blink I see the darkness as my eyes close, I see the Great Faker only then, in a flash with my eyes closed—I feel like he’s trying to tell me something. And, then, I open my eyes and see our CITY: but still his image is impressed all over my eyes, and at the outskirts of every focal point, trying to tell me something, or maybe nothing, maybe I just want him to try and explain to me why everyone loves him so much, him and his trademark fucking dark black goatee swaying sillily in the trademark wind. Never really dwell on the Worlds of other people, nope. Except for that one time just now with the smoking man and I was feeling adventurous. Just wait for that good Space of Suspenseful Nothingness to close up. Then, I can go to my job. The space in that line drags on forever, like a line through the sand, displacing all the atomies of the sand, pushing aside all the crumbs of the sand on the white board on everyone’s face, so that the board is all white, pushing, until no sand can be seen on the white board, because something that is all one thing can never merge with any other thing; I tell you, push the sand apart, with the stick of the Great Faker, and you will see that the face has become the soul, indeed, here, in our CITY, the
faces, the many faces, and just a white board: that tries to push apart the sand, white and empty, and so flawed that the boards have entered a sort of flawlessness, accepted by others as resultant of being statically beyond repair. They all have too much sand to get rid of but they all keep trying to get rid of the sand so they can affirm some individuality in them that they haven’t given up because everyone has the same sand on the white board of their faces and that’s what makes everyone the same but the only board that doesn’t have any sand on it belongs to the Great Faker, which is why everyone follows him, because they want to get rid of the sand: there is always going to be sand on the white board,
though, but, there is a beat, a drumming order to the perversion of them: the way they are perverted by the Great Faker, they are, people picking their asses like no one is watching, tapping their kitschy tennis shoes waiting for the BUS: I count them one two three four five six there are six of them that are the same inside though outside they may look different, I mean, maybe that’s why people make their souls into faces, because at least their faces are different even if those faces are plagued by the same sand, but, also, these people make their souls into faces because it is simpler, it has symmetry to it.
The longer you make your soul into a face, the more sense it makes to continue doing it. I mean, if the soul was inside you—you couldn’t see it, couldn’t comprehend it; why not shrink it down to more sensible diagrams? Diagrams that can be figured into order, like the order of a Face:
I count the buttons on my jacket. A stiff breeze snakes itself through the perforations in my clothing. My shirt my coat my pants my underwear. A chill runs down my spine, like the spine is drying itself off, like a dog, or it is like a cat catching his musk, and I rub my imperfect shoe against the ground, and feel the merciless concrete sidewalk. Oh, bestial pave…something is going on in my head right now: I can’t make sense of it: my perspective is a teeter-totter: my perspective changes balance, as though my perspective were breathing with my lungs, pumping with my veins:
I switch between two WORLDs. Standing at the BUSSTOP as myself, being as much myself as I have always been, organized, unique, intelligent, great, this is the first WORLD; and I stand as someone else, someone who senses he is trapped in the implacable goo of his own retributive processes, more reasons for revenge sprouting from botched retributions, things that did not even maim.
I am also someone who questions how eloquent his own thoughts are if he has sensed the presence of a powerful force over people, only to stamp that force with as juvenile and jejune a sobriquet if you want to use the fancy word, as ‘The Great Faker’ or, oh, yeah, ‘That Space of Suspense in Nothingness.’ Ha: and, this is the second WORLD, which, I suspect, breeds from the natural doubt I often have towards myself and my endeavors. Interesting that both WORLDs are just as sensible, just as judicious.
I tighten my gloves against the Wind.
I feel like my words are spreading rumors about me. Cupping their hands when they mention my name or my purpose, through the language they embody.
It is as though I say my feelings about what it is that I say, and yet what I say is not how I feel. The words themselves are laughing at how insanely they are being used.
The thing is that the line in the sand made by the stick from the Great Faker—because the only reason people follow the Great Faker is that he is able to dust off some of their sand with a stick—turns the sand into something completely different: it turns the sand into something that makes the white board compress into a narrow crevice, drawn out with the stick by the Great Faker. I am repeating his name too much, it makes me woozy, I will stop–the narrow lifeless crevice displaces the nature of everything so that people have no nature anymore and have to look at their watches or sniff or cough or communicate the barrenness of themselves, speechlessly: they look at me, and smile, utterly briefly, then, their faces begin to crack into fissures, the horrible gack oozing from their faces through thick stapled skin. They leave it there to rot, and let bacteria congregate around the wound. Someone does that to me just now, and I smile back, pus flying everywhere.
Waiting, so simple and benign, it seems! Something that should be done without thinking, it seems! Sometimes, I hear people around me thinking and during that space of time at the BUSSTOP, the people waiting with me all speak their thoughts together in my head, to the point I can barely make out my own thoughts. The people howl together like a dog and scream in my head because they are all nervous that the Wind will get them. The people shouting in my head, and stuff…I want to tell the person next to me that it’s ok I know you’re normal. I loathe how they think they’re not, when they tell me in my head. They don’t know what abnormal is, they’re not even in that realm, that recess of abnormality.
Let me just say that the voices in my head are purely metaphorical. Just for the sake of proving to you there are some sheltered scraps of normal thoughts and behaviors still whirligigging. Sometimes I feel like these people are the same as I. Yeah, I bet they’re just as anxious as I am to close that lordly Space of Suspense in Nothingness.
Just, like, acknowledge it and get on with their day.
I don’t know how to pull myself together. [WEEPS INSIDE]
These people! They’re protected by the stupid Great Faker so they shouldn’t be worried about the wind. But they are worried. I need to be worried about the Wind because the Great Faker spies on me through the Wind and blows up the skirts of people and taps hats off bald heads like a dog. The words are shouting in my head, right now, as I peacefully stand and wait at the BUSSTOP. They always shout in the most uncomfortable spots.
The thing is I hear them plainly. I really do, I sympathize. But I am not letting on that I sympathize. Because that would mean I would want to connect to other people, and if the Wind knew of that weakness it would get me.
The Great Faker and the monster in the BUS and the Wind are an axis, drying out the LIFE of people. They all work for one another and the monster and the Wind both work for the Great Faker. Alright I’ll start over: because of the Wind, and the apparent master of the WORLD, called the Great Faker, pushing the wind—and the trite inquiry as to the time of day, from a passerby—someone makes me have to look at my watch and tell her the time, and, thus, I scratch the Space of Suspense in Nothingness, like the ears of a dog—because of the judgment of the Great Faker, that annoys in the Wind, and the judgment of people, who sense I am different from them: because of all this I have become the tragic victim of Routine.
You know…those crazy antics? The ones that keep you away from the Great Faker? He has shaken out everyone’s sawdust and put his own sawdust into everyone. I have developed a routine to rid myself of his trickery, though. If I let him, he could deceive me into thinking that I don’t need to rid myself of the sand on my own white board, that he can do it to me with his stick. But I can get rid of my own sand thank you very much.
I do this not because I want to keep my sawdust, but—because I cannot do anything else, or I will lose. I need to keep thinking my own thoughts or else he will start thinking his thoughts in my head: the Wind would get me if I did anything before thinking, anything that slackens the armor, any blood that seeps through, I wipe up.
Inevitably I’m so bothered with routine that I don’t bother to know about people.
They seem so full of contempt anyway. So full of apelike superiority, so full of almighty focus, so full, that they don’t bother to know at all about me. The thing that most oppresses me is the fact that these people don’t care at all about me.
Because of this I sometimes try to care about them: so, I smile, so they can smile back to me, so they can look at me, and say, “Hey, he’s a nice fellow. I should care about him.” And, that sometimes makes me feel better, about the masses. I mean I almost want to be a part of them when I feel like this, even if it would mean being a part of, well, you know: but then there’s that troublesome liquid growing growlingly under my face, the skin, thickening with fluid.
All I seem to know is that they are as impatient as I am on, this damn tired Space of Suspense in Nothingness. On this curb in the line for the BUS.
Smiling does nothing, besides keeping the staples intact, of course. Why would I have staples, you ask? Well, I may not be a part of the masses, but I am too much of a skeptic to believe that I have not grown a second skin myself,
however thin a coating may there be.
The thing that sometimes compels me to roll my eyes: my vacillation, my alienation is by no means an original concept.
This is somewhat paradoxical—the syndrome of the black sheep, the contagion of those who are rejected, those who break a crust of bread their own—this is celebrated in fiction, in philosophy. These fucking jailbirds are everywhere.
On the Glassy Surface of our CITY–to be unique is to be a saint.
But, ah, this, is, on, the glassy, surface, only.
Taking all that has been said into the jumble of things, you can now recognize what is rattling in me like a marble in a tin can. I stand here, and do that repulsive thing called waiting, and I wait, and am repulsed at it. Too afraid even to shift my weight slightly, disturb the rigorous hold of my slacks. Damn slacks. I wish I could twiddle my thumbs, expend some sedentary load, however teensy, but I do not.
And it is a sheet because it is warm inside and covers the whole city like a soiled rueful sheet. How terrifying is the idea of public travel, the pressure of it is everywhere, making everything shrunken and unyielding. To travel is to expand yet we condense.
The servile nature of it: the BUS is not aiding us we are aiding the Monster in the BUS. We are all going places, but no one is moving just judging. This being of truculent metal, its headlights scowling, ingesting my caked-up fear. I could go for some CARROT CAKE right now. Carrot cake and a coffee with lots of milk and sugar. I am hungry so I lick my lips. It must have looked weird. Whenever I eat, it is as though I am digesting my head. My mind goes even further into itself, into the bowels of itself. My peripheral vision goes away, and I eat a TUNA SANDWICH and drink my SHAKE and my synapses finger the taste of the meal. The primitive satiety of food being swallowed. Food for enjoyment, underneath it all food for survival. No one wants to admit that. All that is casual about eating is null when put against the fact that food has a convenient propensity to make us live. All that is casual, fosters necessity. We live in a WORLD where necessity is taboo. One would rather keep his cool, and amble over to the emergency room, or at least the front desk, where he can take a number with all the other maimed schmucks—rather than scream what he really wants to scream:
“MY LEG! IT IS BROKEN! OH, THE PAIN! THE INTOLERABLE PAIN!”
It is a common misconception that people feel uncomfortable in the presence of strangers because, in shyness, they are daunted by the rather obvious fact of a lack of familiarity. For a long time, I have known that the opposite is true. Let me explain:
You see, when I talk about the Monster in the BUS, or Truculent Being, if you will, in itself, I do not mean the Great Faker. He at least makes people feel normal; the Monster in the BUS makes them wary of any others because the Monster exposes everyone to the Space of Suspense in Nothingness.
This exposure sprinkles some nice confections, there, on the minestrone. The confections make us have awkward feelings of shyness towards strangers, which causes the discomfort, in one’s realizing their aforementioned exposure.
Yes. It eats itself. As you could guess.
The Space of Suspense in Nothingness makes people uncomfortable because in the presence of strangers, it is not shyness that is the culprit. Truthfully, people are able to see bits of themselves in the strangers around them, this recognizance imbuing in them a suspicion that they do not control their own lives, that some God has made them all alike, all into copies of the same lemming.
So you see, now, that the awkward feeling one may have towards strangers comes not from any unfamiliar grounds, but from the sense that one has tread those grounds before, and the only reason one cannot, when in the close mien of friends, descry the Space of Suspense in Nothingness—the reason the same discomfort is not felt among those who are familiar with one another—has to do with the fact that one’s amenity to the Great Faker is blurred in the eyes of a friend, blurred by that friend’s subconscious will to see no darkness, fear, nor discomfort, in the happy aspect of his or her comrade.
I guess, now, after talking you through that, it should be obvious, that I have no friends. As a result, my perception is not blurred, as it would be if I did have friends; and thus, I see the Great Faker in everyone, I suspect everyone. Granted, in a sense I too am like Them because I too am ruffled by the Truculent Being in the BUS, and uh the Space of Suspense in Nothingness, so.
But I don’t know like I said I never could know. I go on with the tedium of routine and I wait in the line at the BUSSTOP like I said. Routine, the bore of my life it is. But it’s still a plan! A plan that can lead me through life, piece by piece. It gives me a calmer perspective on the pieces. It is the one level I have above all my problems. It is a necessary procedure. It is a saintly procedure.
I keep yammering on about this…self-christened ‘Space of Suspense in Nothingness,’ and you do not ask what it is? Do you want to know? I’ll tell you.
It is by definition, I guess a—yawn—if anything—yes—a brutally unrequited yawn requiting uncertainty…a hidden motion, incomprehensible and fast. Blipping across the inner radars of men. It is not blatant like a muscle flexing or a shot look. It is something more transitive. I guess you could say it is like being in an elevator with only one person.
Both of you depress everything, depress your lungs, still your heart, and by doing so, your goop stands stiller than still. Pardon the strange phrasing. You bolt the harnesses of otherness at the bottoms of your legs, so you don’t kick the other, and—look at the ground. You pretend to think about something else. You play with the personal trinkets at hand [a cufflink, a watch] and, most importantly, you never speak. If you do, you’re never sure what it is that’ll come out, or how long you’ll be able to speak normally before your voice starts to twang up and down, or croak, or something. But, ah, it is more than that.
It plucks at all the notes my daily frustrations manage to hit: the falsetto the staccato. Plucking the notes, and making it all ache a bit more, like an instrument, playing me, the Space of Suspense in Nothingness does this; it craves to open wide the futility of my character, so it plays me. Like the Great Faker wishes to play me I do not let him play me. Like a clam, it wants to open up the futility of my character, my character.
Any sudden reel from the norm prompts the gestation of a worse monster, worse than the wind worse than the BUS. I have a lot of monsters:
One that magnifies my every move into a spangle of wrongs it immediately turns into propaganda against my wrongness; one that publicizes accidental trips of the muscle, so that all those catty eyes of the catty people who staple their thick skin back together every morning can see that ‘trip’ and know once and finally for all that something with me is not right, and when the masses see that I am not right, then the Great Faker will see that I am not right, and he will make me right. Oh, this monster.
This Monster is a worm. Ha. It constantly forces itself into my thoughts like a worm. The more I try not to think about it, the more powerful the sensation of the worm becomes. It is like when I was little at SUMMER CAMP playing soccer and. Then suddenly, I said,
“FUCK GOD FUCK GOD” even though I didn’t want to,
what I suppose was the worm wanted me to: the worm was pushing with its misconceived little finger on some relative button in me, it was as if trying not to express something taboo gave it all the more attraction; an instinctual avoidance kicked in, and I left the soccer game, and went to curl up under the merciful shade of a tree. Jabbering on about Fucking God. “FUCK GOD FUCK GOD.”
—The worm has many faces speaking in a language that is occult and ominous and long gone. The languages shriek at me. The languages shriek at me like the people do, in my head. Maybe they are the same thing.
The worm inches its way into me, kneading and squirming in the dirt, there: maybe the right squirm, one day, will send right flying all the muscles I smooth over, smoothed by the quaffed Nepenthe of my Lassitude, all the fists I must make red, and then pocket, each day—send them flying into space, into that abyss of the unrestrained. My big fat rook, traversing the squares of a bishop.
Because I am in public you see and when my hands are in my pocket they are surrounded by something like the cotton walls of the pocket and when they are out of my pocket in public my hands are in the quite relative atmosphere of our CITY that has so many possibilities in it, electrifying the air. Send them flying for who knows where, and with a power that I don’t know and have always balked at knowing.
Send them flying like tentacles, tentacles with suction cups. The tentacles would not spare anyone.
Why would my tentacles no not spare anyone? Because, and I know: they, being my fists, my legs, anything lethal that is attached to me, the worm—all those things want their violence to hold the value of something absolute, i.e. not sparing one life—absolute—dry and pure and all the bad things discarded from it, absolute, it would be the only thing in our CITY that was absolute. [WEEPS INSIDE]
My hand wants to explode and send flesh and blood onto this stupid line so they know for the first time what they have made me into but instead I just pull up my gloves a bit and that eases me, I go through the means of that motion as though it were a natural process–but then my ear wants to explode so I cover it quickly with my hand so no one can see, and the quick jerk of my hand to my ear makes two people stare back at me strangely. Their eyes are dirty white heavens that make me want to spew:
“Mosquito,” I manage to belch this placation out and there is a flash in my head of me spewing. As if it were mosquito season in the dead of winter! What they all don’t know is that every step of life is as procedural as a coffee maker. Some just furnish the steps with a more natural grace. I do not have that grace. But that’s why there’s this routine I keep talking about. Do you want to know?
The main thing I do when most vulnerable to the Space of Suspense in Nothingness is I hold my movements to my chest when people around me start to breathe, or shuffle their feet, look at their watch. I hold it tighter when asked the time; tighter, when offered thin hellos, coughed sparingly from others, their noses thinner than their words—and with their words comes the necessity for you to return the droll greeting, whether with a curt nod, or the word itself. What makes me sick is how these people can fool me into thinking that they really wish for my friendship.
The WORLD of our CITY is stuffed with fragile connections: the absurd ones, the hellos for instance, become knotted together in a glutted convoluted sphere that eventually melts and washes over our CITY: a flood of trite nods and hellos and failed attempts at human association. The other more singular connections merely buckle slower, and break like ice from the societal glacier, into the largesse of other melted meetings: the forgotten name of a co-worker, the avoidance of a fellow you met at a party and never saw again, the feigned happiness at a relative’s arrival–these are the fruits of a person’s lazy try at human interaction. If you want to know me, know me. But there is no need to. You do.
For I, too, am you; for, I am all.
I look around: and, my eyes stop, for a moment, on each face, so ignorant, banal, all of them, ghosts that stand up, once filled with life, now minimized, now staring at THE DAILY NEWSPAPER, never absorbing, just slowly blurring, it is only when we look at ourselves and see the triviality of that self, gawking in the mirror, that we reach to suckle at the other, outsider selves, in the hopes of making some sort of correction, in our souls, through whatever self we find, on the outside.
The thing is, the more you suckle on an outsider self, the more of a second skin you have to wear. I’m not insane.
The more the grime begins to clot behind the mask of your fake self, the more your real self begins to roll downwards, into your heart, which in turn shrinks, and it shrinks, which is why I hate going out: because I have too much to correct, and I don’t want to end up wearing a mask in place of a heart shrunk to nothing! But ah I am at least above those who stoop to suckling, ah! AH!
I walk out of my house each day. The sidewalk is made up of large cement sheets that come after one another and create cement crevices in the sidewalk. I try not to touch the crevices with my feet. And, of course, I walk fast, so nobody has time to notice this rule of mine.
I keep my hands in my pockets all the way to our BUSSTOP. So that they don’t fly off and hit someone. I keep gloves on to conceal my silly hands further.
In this way I stand as straight as I can on the left hand corner of our BUSSTOP, where people tend not to build up, and think of a ruler: and try to straighten even the curvy bones of my knees, and breathe deeply for two seconds, deep, because, the body, of course, needs oodles of oxygen, and exhale, and wait another eight seconds, and, I count the numbers in my head with a ‘Mississippi’ for good measure. And—wait. Oh no. Haha.
Oh no thinking about it is itself a folly when it comes to it being done properly. This is a process to be done without any emphasis on its purpose or, indeed, method.
If I do start to think that maybe I don’t have to live this way, I get confused. My personality becomes a teeter-totter. I turn into two people. I immediately lose what momentum I had in my body to the braking realization that this could all be a farce. And that is a problem: you see—I was born without momentum, without the mental strength to make action acquaint with reaction.
As a result, I must lay out each day like a blanket, pre-made, straight and flat and the same from end to end, most people are born with wheels like circles, I was born with wheels like squares. That is all I have energy for, please.
But just because my days are the same doesn’t mean I am just another roaming cog within the apparatus of our CITY; nor am I akin to the nihilistic post-modern depression of most white-collar business suits, snoots, a brooding genus of American culture that is nowadays the favorite topic of existential NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS and book-of-the-weeks.
I refer to those people as suits, because they are that and nothing more. I am none of those. Because, I have my mind: it is my thoughts that are my flesh and my bones: my brain, I am sure, not only cogitates in my skull but my hands and arms and belly, and by that I mean the physical fat of my brain has literally been stuffed into my whole body.
Yes. My mind distinguishes me so much, that it has gone through the trouble of distinguishing me physically, yes, although no one can see it; literally, if I were to be cut, bits of brain would come out, instead of blood.
That is why I avoid getting cut or else I might lose intelligence, I may sound insane, ha, then again, I keep apologizing to no one! What a day it is to think! I fear any arrhythmia in my pattern. If it breaks, I have nothing but my feet on the ground, and I would feel this sensation disperse as well with time, and thence-flaccid hope. I think about these purveyors of small talk, you see.
A grim chuckle almost escapes from the nepenthe of my lassitude. As I think in the back of my mind—I think, what if I cut myself? Right now, just to see what it’s like and if brains come out? It would be bad but still…
I like to think my stomach and heart and lungs are managed together and straight down like tidy cards, but they are not: they are lined with cragulous, indulgently placed veins, and are snared within a jungle of muscle and fat and blood like a repulsive mobile!
—Small talk. Made by those who are afraid to have the realm of their lives crack slightly, but, more importantly, open slightly; too afraid to take action without a foundation, even if they might have two perfectly good legs to stand on. Those who cannot go on without a little gab, because they cannot bear the Hiss.
The Hiss of Silence makes people even more rotten, if you ask me. Sometimes, eh, it is hard for me to explain things.
I believe that my chowderheaded chowder of images and castigation is nearing a point in the story, which is to say, the catastasis:
Which means that something sort of climactic/important is about to happen because, you see, this little cyst between my temples goes much too far now, for just being a cyst.
And to be honest all that chowder doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s all really barely footed, but for the physic of my foot stuck to the ground: and meanwhile, my chowder percolates upwards, into the lofty, the genius, the trite, mostly, the trite. A dash of genius. I hope.
If you live in our CITY, you will come to hate these people I call teen tribes.
Sometimes you see them as they get out of school. Sometimes you see them before they even go to school. Sometimes they’re on a ‘field trip’—but besides all that—they’re never around, so I’m usually safe to go about my own rhetoric.
But when they are here there are always a lot of them and do they ever talk, and do they ever talk!–
They stomp out on the concrete like washing machines and they step on the cracks of the sidewalk when they know they’re not supposed to and talk all thousands of them like a mass of talk and saturation and fluids and their hairstyles are in their mouths, blowing into people’s faces and it is like a chorus of the things I hate, a mountain of Talk! that bears on everything like a great, voluble avalanche.
An oppressive brachial loudness. Loudness jamming the air like an avalanche. A mountain of grease and words.
I hear them acutely, like the electric sibilance of television—the hiss of the silence slung over the words of the talking heads, like a coward peeking through the bush.
They usually go down the street after, but today they have decided to go down this street. Through some manic whim. I feel self-conscious. I feel awkward. I feel criticized. They talk and scream at each other, like dogs.
I think strange thoughts: I think strange thoughts that I can’t explain. Things that are unnatural things that worry me.
I begin—I begin to want to laugh with these morons. Laugh in the same way a high ledge dares you to jump. I am taken by the bubbling urge to start a fight, or scream, or sing, or grope a woman, or a man, and what is worse is that there is no reason dictating this. I begin to squeeze my hands, over and over, imagining something being crushed under that small weight, like molecules or cells. I shut my eyes, over and over, flattening the little dust as by chance might’ve wafted onto the lenses. Yes, yes, that would teach them. And
and yet they hurt my ears and my ears begin to hurt my head and I feel my hands and my arms begin to rise and peel away from my mind to hit someone, until they die: but instead, I put my tongue to the roof of my mouth, and for some reason this always calms me: but, the talk, talk, talk.—
The hollow meat of it: talk: that lazy cousin of action.
See I locked up my mind this morning like I always do this morning I doubled it and redoubled it and chained it up so much that I almost locked myself in in fact I might have locked myself in and yet this happens and everything my points my ideas they are dashed away into that loose confederation of talk from tribes, talk from tribes,
and I hate—the tribes, there’s so many kids, so many people walking I just, I just can’t take it. [WEEPS INSIDE]
Part II :
I begin to see these little red spots out of the corner of my eyes. These miniscule red spots that waft about my eyes.
And, they oscillate to and fro, in these miniscule red flocks of twelve, the red spots do this, and, then, I see: these neon green squiggles in my eyes that want to show me that life is not that bad, is not bad at all.
And each of the squiggles says one word to me without a mouth and then the squiggle, or whatever, goes falling through my iris into the cavern of my head and suddenly I am no longer myself but I am everything and any ego I had dwelling disappears for a pale instant, and I see
someone’s perky pencil of a sister. Just beginning to rudder her way through the longitude of teen years. Passing waifish through that arcade of depleted selfhood and innocence: young Lotharios turned by sex into Louts, and
I see her mushrooms of perhaps darkness, and of doubt, growing with each year in her; and I see moments
The friction of feet against gravel; the touch of an elbow in a crowd; the careening of blonde hair through the wind; the vacuity of a baby’s understanding; the baby’s mother’s perusal of the dairy isle, or her father’s reading of the paper; a truck’s headlight before a crash on a wet road
The light of the headlight screened by the fecund drips of the rainwater. And then the crash and the intimacy of the metal and the dropping out of life, and the victim swaying into death. And his sudden value for that lone headlight in the last seconds of breathing, because it was the last real thing he will ever see again
All the mundane things and wonderful things and horrible things here turned sojourn by the very majesty of life. By the poetry of only living and taking that perpetually retiring chance to live the zest again, along with the torment, and the zest and the torment both equal in their importance. You see I used to have this chaotic little fantasy,
whereby I imagined, every person I walked past in that moment when I and the person were closest to one another, before going our separate ways—at this moment, I would imagine this person revealing a knife from some random nest in their pocket and stabbing me.
Every time I passed someone on the street, there would be a flash, in my mind’s eye, of me being stabbed.
Up until now, I had not realized this was crazy, and, well, if I can dream up crazy things like this regularly, then maybe all the other things I had previously thought to be real were actually not so,
and that, at the nut of every being is a platonic connection to their fellow man, that/whom may pass by them on the street. And yet they do not stab. No one actually had the knife behind their back, it seemed. Or something.
No one had, shaking, in even some primordial alpha-chest, a passion for violence. They…we…I…have only passions for connection, etc.
Mechanisms made reactions to mechanisms. And they still do to this day, tricky buggers. But:
My mind had fissures in it: my mind it almost decided to abandon its dithering post and up and leak through the fissures, like a gas leak. I dodged unmarked things in my head. As yet unmarked things, placed along the latitude of my head, or longitude, whatever I said. The mouths of the fissures in my head were soon covered, my hand stopped shaking, I realized abruptly it had been shaking for that entire ordeal. The cacophony ended.
The tribes siphoned themselves back into some one of many a variable flume of our CITY and the silt of their voices a drifted wastrel like sewage into nothing, and I felt different now.
I felt suspicious. Aware, now, of my position. Like I finally knew what they were all up to. I saw them, saw them finally for what they were, these diaphanous hominids, these open books were suddenly that.
There were no longer any questions about it no questions about the man with the cigarette who would definitely not have lent me a dollar if I had asked him; and the rich lady in some furry hat who was waiting, too, alongside him.
An eternal layabout for a carelessly rich husband, who bilked him out of more and more gaup.–
And yet, she got the botox to make him love her.–
The civic booby of a man I saw, also, every day, and always on time, at our BUSSTOP, who would always let people onto the BUS before him.
But I saw him one day and he didn’t get on the BUS after letting everyone cut him in line—and he would say, “Here you go. Here you go.” Waving his hands when he wanted someone to cut him and the day after and the day after that he didn’t get on the fucking BUS either so I realized he just plain never got on the fucking BUS to begin with he just wanted some quick thankfulness from strangers.
An appreciative nod perhaps that I always gave him out of pity for he was the type of person who never had enough of something to join the Great Faker though he wanted to and so uh whored his spot on the BUS out, in order to get, garner, lasso, wrangle, snatch up the dropping crumbs of the appreciation of those who got to do so, got to eat up that whole wretched baffling food.
It was all so pathetic. So passive-aggressive, so…these people were, so wretched baffling, and. Are to this day too. Nasty.—
How could I ever get to know them, how could I even try? It was not as though one could waltz up to a stranger on the street and proclaim friendship. Friendship is an equation that cannot be solved without Time, Time I had none any of.
But I did not know exactly what it was that I was seeing I didn’t know exactly what it was that made me become so damned fucking cold towards everyone.
A minute ago, I was praising everyone’s name, instead of figuring it out I burrowed even further into myself out of frustration. He, ‘HE’ ehr, did.
All this phrenic trouble just waiting for a BUS. It didn’t well, it didn’t feel like anyone noticed me. I could feel people staring at my coat. I know it sounds kooky. But I felt it. A confused miracle of pressure lightly lightly on my back. Where I could not see.
Perhaps the answer to whatever it was I was wondering about was located on my back! Ah! I touched my back and nothing was there so I thought of all those eyes!–
Yeah, the faultfinding eyes and the dew-lacquered brown pupils. The dew washed over the eyes and seeming valid and paring the touch. That were inhuman and disgusting.
Pupils that spread their shaded selves large over the eyes, pupils that were holes, pupils that swirled in their holes like the cartilage that swirled all round in my ears like fish.
They looked at me, and fed well from my embarrassment, and struck hands in me, grabbing for my innards, unflinching, terrifying, but I could tell, trying to hide something, like I was; and, I closed the balls of my own eyes, as I saw them: the eyes all expressionless and pulsing, the middle of them—so dark, that the color itself pulsed—it was, in any case, a poignant feeling.
I gazed in confusion at the emotions and desires and the unknowable facts behind them that I could never see. I only was able to gaze at them, with fascination, as if they were animals in a ZOO.
Things, things in the eyes, things I had many times warped out of fathoming at all with my tonedeaf postulations and my cynicisms chancing wry. Things in the eyes that was just the beginning—what more could I learn or claim to learn by examining the entire body of another human!
What criminal fallacies could I find by pulling apart the calluses of a hand, or by pinching the fastened skin of an earlobe?
All facial limb or bodily feature conspired or conspires or whatever the tense is at this point, I don’t care, it conspires to conceal what
hath corrupted, uh Them. The facts of their lives that hung on Them, like chains, and I knew, indeed, how hard it was to muffle the rattle of my chains. I was sweating.
The man in the black suit was still there: by then he was probably past his sixth cigarette. All of them were waiting. There was an arrhythmia of feet tapping against the gummy concrete. Feet that wished to sprout roots and cling to the ground: a sensation crept over me, then: I realized that just standing there, completely silent, I had done some of the greatest thinking of my life.
It was like this: I had had all these strange thoughts before, but I had never assimilated them as concisely as I had that day, today. Spontaneously! Never before had I been thinking, truly, with such verve! Such dynamic! Ah such clarity there was to all that went through my head, so unbelievably acutely did I feel the stability of ground beneath my feet, that I juggled with the idea of whether I had been drugged.
The man in the black suit was at the front of the line; I was nearer the back. Various men and women were in the middle. A girl ran panicked across the street from the curb and the curb was delineated by the gleam, the glower, of the lights, coming. The BUS of our CITY stopped at the front of the line, with a Hiss.
The man in a black suit did not toss aside his cigarette in a way that one would usually toss aside something that was killing you.
I walked past the defeated ashes of the cigarette, and I contemplated crushing the filter into the ground, just to release energy, you know, to improvise something, but I did not do that no and stepped up the rubber steps into nothingness.
You did not do anything on the bus. That’s why it was nothingness. You dug your shoes into the filthy rubber floor, and fiddled, maybe, with the BUSPASS you had just used, folding it over itself with your fingers until it became a tiny square. This can be done, with one hand, in your pocket, so as to avoid looking conspicuous.
You grabbed the shiny pole that sprouted from the floor. And you felt yourself sink and dive as the bus went on inclining and declining.
And there were rules, too: the rules on the BUS were  that everyone sat,  no one stood, and  you could not look at anyone. Unless things got crowded; then people were forced to stand.
Their shoulders go icy cold if I push past them, if they push past me. Their cheeks go blue.
And their tongues dried up. The BUSMAN sat with sunglasses, wide and blank. Sunglasses, he looked nowhere you could see. Glasses like a group of actions and emotions contained dully behind that blubbery, especial second skin. What was called a job. Some people got so swept away into the busy whirlwind of jobs simply so that they could afford to be indifferent about everything else.
I fiddled around. It was easier to maintain composure on the BUS if you were sitting. I laid my bag down. I suddenly realized I had brought my bag, a bag.
As though it were an item intruding upon a place and time disparate from its own: suspicious nervous of the place it had been ushered into. It was like a leather sheep with a zipper.
I did, do not blame the bag, I too would be suspicious—only controlled by the hand grasping. No feet to command whatever impartial ambition a bag might have. It merely levitated around its owner, serving its purpose, never sure of a thing, but it helped me out because then I played with the zipper, and pretended not to know what was inside [even though people already could see through my whole façade] and opened it up and pretended to look at what was in it.
And as I was lucky enough to have found a seat, my body and ass vibrated with the heated movements of the BUS, and I grabbed the edge of my seat firmly, for if I fell off the seat, I wouldn’t know what to do.
I expatiated on such a situation.
And after a while, the end of my spine began to tingle, and I felt like I was going to finally drop down, because my mind had never let me imagine what I would do.
Predicting future actions to a hypothetical is something quite foreign to me, I don’t have the imagination. [Jesus who was he?]
I looked at the corner and not, did not–
Weary suspicion. [First stop] mindless functioning with something. That needed to be done. The wheels slid over the asphalt. The potholes jarring. Fiddling with lint in my pocket. The BUSSPASS was already folded, unto oblivion.
And one needed to curb their thoughts, use a width of thick skin, even if the thick skin was incomplete, or made you incomplete. For some reason, I understood the feeling of being tired of myself.
[The wind blew from a second stop] I did not, no, I don’t like the stops. The rapping of feet on the BUS floor interfered with benign reflections on the benign. The odd loudmouth that came in.
And I [watched him] tried to keep a person’s actions from my mind.
He had come onto the BUS when I had and had sat down across from me.
The man in the black suit, he got off. He got off he lit a millionth cigarette, he squinted into a destination. I tried to find what he was looking at. I was sweating [stop now, stop it].
I looked to the ground. I shuffled my feet. An old BUSSPASS folded in half on the ground.
It was a gentle humming at first.
A joke. A very bad one, Suspended in the isolate air.
Then, we were fixed to our seats as though by nails. A variable whimper—like a burp—natural and rolling. A sigh a blow a sniff. These tentative chasms of sadness: all hilariously brisk.
Then screams. Horribly stifled ones, with so much energy—anchored down to their little, suffering things. As moans, as sobs hinting at some graver cleft in the feeling, some crueler tone dared not to be expressed.
He would not show us that cleft, and even if he lost control, it would not really be losing control, of course. There would still remain an unconscious will to curb that cleft—to be coddled by his Great Faker.
And to have that singular cadence of approval from Him-Holy oh Hosanna-fuck.
The Great Faker, and, and, and: then, the real screams, open and wild, like something that tried to be utterly said from the coffin of truth up through the dirt just as loud through the dirt mound and huddled grass of the coffin and it echoed and it shook the last earnest crumbs of the living.—
A man behind me coughed into his hand. He quickly shifted his weight and his Dockers screeched at his thighs. He was petrified because of the screech. He was petrified that even a particle of commotion was started by him, though no one noticed. I noticed though, and I looked at the selfish Dockers man, thinking he mattered enough to disturb this:
I saw all the follies he wished to keep caped and more people coughed, coughed to the ground, caping themselves, they were flinging a cape over themselves. Knees were scratched. People began to blink too much.
People become aware of the Great Faker and the Space of Suspense in Nothingness, as a collective group, for the first time. It was surreal to witness. His grief controlled us like puppets. No, less lively. Like clockwork. Like the steely pantomime of machines. La La La. All of us. On the BUS. Going to where our mornings break us.
I started to think, how could this man on a public BUS go on weeping heavily in front of everyone at 9 in the fucking morning?
We witnessed his hands all white as new snow. We witnessed the pipes and loam of his life. He made us witness the pipes and loam of our own lives. He was a wall that stood there, between us and a sincere life, and the wall was grey and cold like the shoulders and noses of men. His life was our lives. Intimate sounds. The unloving noisy issue of snot into the napkin. The sponge-like contractions of his throat. The spasms of his legs. A scream bogged in the fluid of sorrow and the foul phlegm of weeping. His loud emoting began to actually corner me. As if it itself were a hungry dog. It swelled and compressed around my throat. His crying. He’s Crying Hah.
And then I sneezed I sneezed but no one was paying attention, maybe some halfjerked heads. So much for inconspicuous. I looked over at him. This was the first time I had done so.
Like a creature absorbing all the calculi of my environment—the wind, the angles, the velocity—I started, and halted, and then, with only my eyes, I ventured to find where was the crying man.
[I didn’t realize he was that close—my head was looking down] he was trying to soothe his embarrassment. Embarrassment made him stiffen, excruciatingly, all the poor little blue veins in his neck.
Oh, how he despised his audience, oh, oh, all of them, mouths agape! And me! I couldn’t see myself from the outside, but I probably looked the same, damn me.
The stertorous drone of the engine of the BUS, however, made any public exhibition trivial. The humanity in everyone was consumed completely by his tears. Etc.
A woman wanted to dive into her purse with the purpose of scratching off like a lottery ticket the leftovers of her humanity and she used the leftovers to glue back her staples rightly and she found combs and photographs and innocent stuff: each thing had its own tiny story, but innocence was not a part of humanity, to me, humanity was no comb, humanity was in the socket of an eye, in the eye of the cry,
in the crying man humanity was there and it was No Answer: no great truth, only the relic of an unknowable validity, the phantasm of a generous physical vibration that one could not ever posit.
Through his tears the crying man said, “I’m sorry.”
I counted each pent life and the lives raveled down onto the BUS floor like wrapping paper. The sole rectangular floor that seemed to shake the concrete earth of our CITY. Seemed to but didn’t. It was just the BUS moving over the paved blemishes beneath us, potholes, and potholes filled with too much cement, and I counted the pent lives like vegetables. I counted the piggy crop.
And: there was the WHITECOLLAR white youthful man with tie slackened, business casual, with cheeks red and hearty, but then was the crying man and the cheeks became blue, and all mischief gone from the tie, and, the red stripes of the tie drooped with bashfulness. And the man himself, stuffed with college swill, a stomach full of frat beer, sucking the last marrow from his alma mater days, greening his liver with alcohol, and fattening him up—and yet he grinned with such a ghastly indifference that his face exploded onto everyone and the thick skin was ruined and staples not holding.
And: there was the rude tapping of the manicure, on crossed shoulders: on one nail showed cheap the tiny facsimile of a white flower, and the woman herself was a tacky white flower, slathering on her face like butter a thick skin. The mask of some cardboard ennui. Thinking about her salon. She dipped up her blue-plated eyes from the grim places in front of us to anything that still held fantasy in it.
And: there was the prune-like liberal wook who appropriated everything, who wrote poetry, who bloated his pittance of a resumé at cocktail parties with his rich friends, who wore a coat made from hemp and had dreads. And yet he lacked the assertion of his clothes. His chest was small and inverted. His arms were bone.
And: there was the caustic brow of a fiftysomething who played the family game too much, the squareness of his square face and the rectangle of his torso refusing to acknowledge the hipness of his jeans, the legs sheathed like magnificent swords in hip boots, the man himself, untrendy, awkward, old, trends flapping forlornly from the destitute fringes of his mind, he, grabbing the fringes, at least. His focus, for the majority of his life, to be grabbed—by his hairblowing kids, and he, angry, about the whole thing, he, just wanting to be a fiftysomething—
The crying man dipped uniquely into some deeper, ravenous infliction. The sobs garnered a new inflection, a higher decibel, with every breath; the man became caught in the inertia of his own sorrow. And his cheeks were wrung and pores were wrung, and he uncurled himself, and his chest inflated, and his shoulders curved in opposite directions, straining his ribcage—and he opened his mouth, simply: and the natural desperate wonder of it sucked us all in: something so palpably raw and finite that—just—hurtled out of him.
That unceasing note. And stop, and stop, we listened to that note, over and over again: more dumb, unpleasant semi-lives were dumped and were filled: the dumb show to add importance to the platitude of the semi-lives by adding distance. Neither touched nor understood, the BUSMAN conveyed a vast nothing and the note, well. The note conveyed everything.
And we witnessed his hands all white, and
and and then, it occurred to me: exclusively, finally: it was hail coming down, hard and cold, each infinitesimal skull of ice a different and more obscure idea, a different fact yet to be proven, but, that one idea still, above it all, the deep dark cloud that sprouted the droplets, was undeniably clear—the idea that was in the Wind, and the slave of the Great Faker, and to be expedited, still.
So, I worked so hard to pick up all the little pieces of hail before they melted, and most of their genius slipped away forever down the clans of the gutters that lined each street, and I said
“No! No tell me! No, tell me your secret now!”
But apparently that was in my head or I only mumbled it because no one was paying attention or maybe their minds were too wrapped up in the effort of not focusing on the crying man.
Believe it or not, I don’t blame them.
These people, these nervous people were nervous because that was what they were, their actions, their nervousness; in the meantime of my eyes were they constituted solely of their discomfited sourness, their inability to face this man, to be rather wrapped in themselves like an impotent fajita.
They might have been someone else when they were alone, but it was the same as asking if a tree fell in the forest with no one around, would it make a noise? If a bastard was nice to his apartment wall when no one was around, would it make him nice? No!
The way I began to see it, people were around others so often, they took mirrors along with them, and their mirrors reflected off of whatever stranger, too; whatever debris that also happened to pass by them. And yet, those strangers they carried their own mirrors.
And I thought of how I was as nervous as they were, I was just like them–AM I, I, I AM, I, not but a thick skin, and I nothing more? I hated them, I detested THEM, but I obeyed them, I
ruled my life by what they thought but if they did the same for me then who did the actual judging, who did the actual categorizing if we all turned ourselves inward in order to discount those static outward impressions, which in reality were never made?
What was this hulking manatee of public scrutiny?
It then occurred to me:
Was I not like them? Was I not, a statistic? To be blurred and rounded, to be cut from the WORLD like an umbilical cord, and I was the cord, and the WORLD was the child?
We were all cords. Each one fed one sum: that sum of ourselves, or of this disgraceful CITY, or of this fetal mound on which we lived. The child-mound that would not take much longer to blossom into some unfathomable newness, separate itself from the billions of people who fed it; and then to be bred by the large and filial hands of God.
Not the Great Faker, this mound, would leave us after it realized we were all fake, weren’t we? Phony phony phony. Fake. So, we joined him.
It was the WORLD. The clever earth, under the stagnant pipes and loam, the maze of forgotten systems of concrete and sewage, under that, under the layered urban frontier of waste, of lazy contractors and the cracks in the pavement and the broken ducts that led nowhere that harvested all the continuous excesses of the CITY minds and the streets into their depthy pools of the grey wash of the puke and Styrofoam, and rind—under that, it was the earth, the oh clever earth, the oh clever earth that was that sum of ourselves. Not the Great Faker, the earth. That was the final reflection off our mirrors, that was the original, that was the child we fed with our reflections of nothing until the child needed more than our food of otherness, other food.
The blank board on which we drew, off-chancing a smile with some pen or instrument of itself, and us drawings drawn with our drawings: until it all left us, left the drawings we made for it.
Because it realized we were not worth the trouble because we were all not real. And our drawings probably weren’t that good anyway. And the crying man: his flaws became the symbols of his self. His flaws represented what we did not see in the mirrors because the mirrors reflected God and God was perfect and the man was flawed.
I looked out the window and I was made madly human and we were all made madly human with him and we each yes we do have our own wonderful, foul phlegm didn’t we…? Ah! Beauty, life, and beautiful life!
And yet we let him slip, slip deeper and deeper.
I looked at my feet. I had to be more than them, I had to be the ORIGINAL, I had to be that saintly original thing all the mirrors reflected, just had to, I daily heaved the magnitude of my soul like a porky stone; my feet dragged under the weight of my soul my soul like a stout rock.
I never saw anyone else dragging their feet due to the porky stone! That stout rock!
What I experienced was real. Each deed of mine possessed thousands of reasons that were buried in the porky stone, the stout rock; and they nested there, incubating, and then sprouted from me into actions, sprouted as would careful daisies [of rottenness]. [WEEPS INSIDE]
There were so many quirks that were too tired to be interesting anymore. I had so many perplexing rituals, in order, I thought, to feed the soul of myself. But I was actually just feeding the fetal mound, wasn’t I? He would leave us soon enough.
There was a hurricane in me. It made me hate myself; it was a brief, stinging hatred I had for myself. The hurricane entered into that long radius of skepticism run between my thoughts of others and others’ thoughts by me: it beckoned forth every quashed feeling, beckoned forth the feelings both normal and abnormal. Strip yourself of the gum of the thick skin. Let open the levees of the ape. Let the idiosyncrasies be naked said the hurricane.
For years quashed for the sake of escape. I escaped from the masses and thus escaped from any acquittal of the soul. Wading in my pissy little swamp of personal misery without believing there was another way when I did not know that way I was on even and didn’t even have enough otherness to realize I had welded another prison of that, the iron bars were doubt, the dusty bricks years, and, I incubated in it like a fetus, and I pickled into a man instead of grew into one, yes, pickled, no daisies, and, I was and I am, as inhuman as the Great Faker, hah, merely the freak of objective chemicals.
Indeed, my mind was unique only for its roots in the calculative unfeeling machinery of the WOMB itself: or, whatever abyss I was coughed out, of, damn, damn, damn.
In the moment of his great revelation, he did not know, he did not desire to know that the reason he was so upset was that he had entered into the infertile collection of all minds and the streets, and all the cranial bombast of his CITY, and, upon feeling a rush of energy, promptly surrendered himself to this state.
There was too much connection in his fear and theirs.
Too many similar muscles pressing. Too much like-minded sweat sweating.
My hair began to get sensitive. I desired to itch it but did not. Then it was like all of my hairs were squeezing out of my head like worms out to tell everyone how crazy I was and the worms quaked the floor with a buzzing sound and the sound turned into gophers that wanted to bury themselves in my head and munch on my brain fluid and the small black gophereyes frightened me. Before I knew it, I was standing up on the BUS yelling
“You sick men and women! You—insensitive jocks like there were at my high school there were jocks. Jocks. There were jocks and I was a misfit! Can’t you see? He’s making us all up! He’s trying to create us off the page!
“I bet you all play a sport, don’t you? Yeah, sick fuck. And, and you don’t have to tell me you’re normal anymore, ok? Stop screaming!”
You might not remember when I said that I could hear all the voices of the BUS folk screaming in my head so what I say here makes sense.
I took two steps forward, and a woman with her bag with a picture of a still life on it of fruit or something, she took her fruit bag from the seat next to her, and she put it on her lap, like it being closer to me would mess up the still life, and I got so angry at this that I said,
“Your fruit is going to be fine! I’m not a criminal! You are because you listen to him! The Great Faker! And don’t play like you don’t!”
I looked around. Everyone was staring off into their day. The person that/who could tell them it’s alright, and it’s ok to do whatever it is they want to do it doesn’t have to be like what I want to do, was ignored.
I received no respect for this gesture of magnanimity.
Starting in my thighs there was an engorged pair of hands pushing up brains from the stem so that the hands would push all the flabby meat up through my throat and everything would come out of my mouth and quite literally everyone would know what was inside me
but no one was reacting. It was like as soon as I got up everyone’s mind instinctively trickled down to their feet, then up and left their body. Playing poker with the Great Faker hah.
They sat in lines, packed tightly. Lines. A line in the sand. Their eyes were like rows of corn. White, spherical corn.
“You know the right decision always goes two paths. One path is if you let’s say you had to go to town. Some town somewhere. You have two paths let’s say. The one path is on the train, you can take a train into town. The thing is you don’t know how the train gets to town. You look at the train when you get there and it seems as though it’s going in the opposite direction of where you’re headed. You just know it gets there without you knowing it. The other way to town is a dirt road. The dirt road goes into town too. But you understand why the dirt road goes to the town. You see that the dirt road runs straight in the direction of where the fuck the town is. You use your sense of fucking direction and you know that this fucking dirt road leads straight to that fucking you know town. Now you can take the train and know that you’ll get there somehow but not know why you get there. In fact in some cases you’ll miss your stop and go headed somewhere else. But with the road it’s different. With the dirt road you’ll be aware of every step you take into the town. You won’t miss the town because by being aware of every step you’ll be aware of the last step and the last step obviously is the destination. But most people they end up taking the train. They feel like it’s safer. There’s no bumps. With the road there can be bumps. You don’t know how long the road is but you’re not sure either of how hard the road is. Most people don’t understand that to get to the right choice you have to take a few hits. There has to be a few gaps. People naturally avoid the gaps because they want to get from A to B quick enough. They don’t understand that by taking the train they’re making garbage out of some crucial choices. Choices you have to make before you get to B. There’s always small choices to be made into the bigger ones. Most people though they say that it’s all just one big choice after another and those guys are the guys who take the train and they don’t even notice where it is they’re going as long as they get there and then no one ever knows how tough the fucking dirt road is since no one ever traveled on the dirt road and they all take the train and sleep because they can’t take the uncertainty they just want the fake certainty the fake certainty that makes people soft and softens their face into a mask and the mask gets way too soft and falls off because of the trains.”
And everyone continued not looking at me and I stopped and this time all their voices really did speak in my head as though they really were looking at me with their minds and all their words were sucked into my skin as though I was a sponge and it was not the words of the people but the words of God lighting up the voices of the people and the words were sheathed in God, and as suddenly, my Worldly comforts gone, I seemed to leak out of my own body, I did not hear what I said anymore o ruinous God, I became a line, my feet touched one end of the Earth, my head, the other end, by your obeisance, sir: and God said:
“…These days, you see, we find complacency in bitterness. Bitterness and idleness and capital. We work like ants and go home to regurgitate our day’s wampum with the slack partition of individualities we know as friends. Filling our bodies with alcohol. Digging into our soul with a spoon. Dallying our time and ingesting the vogues of our era as though they were the final rejoinders to some everlasting, smartass quip about our WORLD, some quip we have finally answered.
“But the vogues. They are weak. The vogues are just silly endocrines that seep out the asshole of whoever bothers to eat up enough of our WORLD. They seep out and evaporate into time.
“However, when we realize that there will be new vogues, new endocrines, that new important things will happen after our personal extinction, we collect whatever balm we can by worshipping the quick yet rooted stigmas that happen to pattern our WORLD at the moment. We snug ourselves right well into our own universal bed. Sleeping, chucking definitions and judgments from our dreams. Stacking up like cards all that we do not understand. As though the place we live in should be the only place. As though the vogues should not change. We criticize that which is at present mysterious in order to make its discovery less enticing to those who wish to dig outwards with a spoon. We chuck criticisms like footballs.
“But when criticism does not work, we quench our short thirst for knowledge by scrawling a name on what might be nameless. Because we are afraid of what is nameless. What is nameless implies what could be named when we are gone. We have our era of opening up one window, and so: we age, and age and age, and realize that we will be denied an extra breeze from another window that may open, as time goes on. So, we turn up our noses and define and we refuse to get out of our universal bed: and we dream hard of a World that does not change, so that we will not miss out on anything after our death.
“In terms of mysterious people we do not massage that real quiddity of those real others, because it would create a void in our tongues–if I were to pluck out another’s eyes and use them myself, I doubt I would be able to express the difference in what I see. The difference from human to human cannot be adequately blurted. The difference is nameless. But the difference is as much a part of the change, as anything else.
“So why not savor the change? Why not nod at the perpetual motion of generations, of ideas? But instead we nod off into the closet of our own minds. Lingering in dust next to the old bad coats. But why not believe, that a war does not make the World?
“…Uh, that, violence does not have to be a road from which we cannot turn back; or, that religion makes as much sense as science? Why not say that religion and science and art are simply absurd furrows upon the pate of a consciousness old as time? And consciousness—pah.—
“Well who’s to say about consciousness, as nothing; that it’s nothing more but some peevish addendum to what are at the most useless and meaty organisms that sit and wait on the EARTH like mushrooms?
“Savoring the change will open our minds, you see. If we rid ourselves of walls then perhaps the bitterness, that need to always go more inward so much so that you eat your own head—perhaps that sensation will disappear, and the vogues will no longer be as idolized. Because we will have rightly accepted their obligatory flux into something different. Maybe then, we all will reach an understanding.
“But universal understanding is impossible, because misunderstanding is essential. There is no single fact to any of the flitting cadences, flirting along this singular expressive brow and worn of culture. We’ll always—and how lovely—go at each other with opposing truths, that we can pick like groceries and wield over our opposing lives, like a torch:
“I was stuck in the subway station once, a moist, humid pipe, cluttered around with people. But you all know that, don’t you? I moved down to the end of the platform.
As I moved down, there were less and less folks in my way. I realized, if there weren’t people to believe that the front of the platform was the best place to wait, if there weren’t people who were too tired to go to the end of the subway, than there wouldn’t have been room on the lower part of the subway, and that, if everyone understood the differing of good places, if everyone understood that no one spot was the best, well, all those people in the subway would be spread out, equally, like paper dolls, diversityless, all through the station. There would be no mixture only the one ingredient there would be no fresher place to breathe because everyone would have the same tepid air to suck into their lungs. Equality is impossible because it negates the variable element that should be present in the nature of humankind.
“The variable element is what makes for extremes. The good and the bad the sad and the happy. These laughably simple extremes cannot exist without each other and thus cannot exist without the variable element because that element is exactly what can split an atom. To garden a spot in your mind with one idea displaces ten million other ideas from that spot. It is cliché to say that conflict is innate but there is a reason that clichés are made. Don’t you think?”
His legs were braced, shaking yet trying to move forward, as though they were squat in the center of a broken swaying bridge, between what he wanted to say, and what he said, and his legs shook with frustration.
He threw his hands up in the air like a man cleansed.
During the speech, he had tried to hem his words back into more familiar stitchplaces, he had tried to go back to what he started with before. His mouth had been stuffed with cotton the whole time. God’s cotton. God’s cotton of rhetoric, damn it. He had tried to spit out the cotton of rhetoric.
The remainder of the speech swerved more and more into random pontificating—
he would lose focus and babble on in the hopes of concluding an inconclusive point.
He would heave his chest up, as though he were about to burp, and say nothing. As though some bean of disapproval was about to chuck itself into the fray. And then he would sigh and continue. One would have expected him to cough up a sweater. The crying man’s seat was empty. He had left a while ago. His seat was like a vacuum of gravity where something of substance had collapsed upon its own mass. No one sat on that seat for the rest of the ride because of the vacuum. I hadn’t even noticed him leave. I didn’t even try to sit there.
Once I got off that stupid BUS, I realized I had missed my stop, and was lost. That whole thing didn’t even mean anything. Fuck the words of myself Fuck the Words of God Fuck God …
just. gave me cotton.
it began to rain:
.Equally in love
It began to rain, and the pomp of the thunder, and the gruff pomp sounding resolute, thundering, and the streetlights specking like odd decorations against the granite and brick and brownstone, and the mountains of brick of the buildings in light and darkness, a seconds’ bath in light, then darkness waiting, and the rain coming out because it had to, no tangential prelude of rain, just brief spells of thunder; and lightning never hitting anything visible, still resolutely there, hitting, like slow and hesitant percussion, and the drumming of a beat behind the mask. And the hesitant prisms of rain that press with the drumming and the percussion. And the brief, yet unfettered, thunder, organic, pending thunder, unfettered, resounding, gorged like the clouds are gorged with something like despise or villainy, a villainous, drumming orchestra of thunder that will run out the epochs, and for epochs, and the thunder-orchestra ringing. And it, sounding with the cult wiseness of those strange, maybe evil, yet all eternal portions of nature: evil because those portions can be frightening, despotic, satanic, ominous—eternal because they never go away, through epochs.
Nature has never felt the need to dispose of thunder or of the lightning, the lightning mumbling behind its pomp of thunder, as nature lingered on and on, and mumbled; and thus from lingering comes the cult wiseness of thunder, of lightning, from the lingering of anything comes the wiseness; the first distant hum of it was crisp, whole, the second was closer to me, and irregular like the physiognomy of lightning itself, and, then, ah, the beautiful rain, the transparent particles, each one WORLD, each raindrop a wonderful WORLD that is born from the explicit hugeness of the sky. It is so private and secret and never known before it finally splashes and scatters and diverges into the current of a puddle, a dip in the concrete, the many holes in the grid, slowly aiding in the dismemberment of the sidewalk over the years due to the groundswells of water and refuse upon the grey concrete, a dip that eventually overflows with the water, and the water works hard to become a single entity, and pushes forward, down the slight slight declines and inclines of our CITY streets, forming another puddle when the street forms a bigger circular dip or impression: and it flows like this, halting and delving, a puddle at each impression, each recession in the level of the street, the street’s failure to adequately plateau; then, that dip in the concrete overflowing with water and the water continuing its travel to another, bigger dip, and the cult wiseness of the lightning reaching down from its canvas.
If it did plateau, or if every street was identical to the most sniveling degree, was completely flat, what then? How would the rainwater catch momentum? It is impossible to imagine this because defects pimple the WORLD. It is how runoff is created; and spaces that flirt too closely with flatness are visited often by tornadoes. No one place on WORLD is completely flat anyway because WORLD is an orb, but what if it was different, and our whole big CITY was a single giant impression, a single great, inverted roundness in the earth, a single dip for rain to collect in, that depressed the earth like the indentation of God’s thumb on the land, and after a long time, after many eons, were latched onto by the roaming cogs people are, trying to make themselves useful, when they never were.
And the teeny compositions of buildings and the smaller dips within, made up of all the smaller ventricles of our CITY, all the conurbations and sub-cultures, all that, manipulated into that one imprint of a thumb, that giant dip!
What if our CITY was a giant dip our CITY is a giant dip. Our CITY is a giant puddle. It floods with too much rain. The people drown. The CITY falls to anarchy. We are trapped we drown in our buildings…
It stopped thundering and lightning. A few ornery forks of lightning that came and went like a starved dog. The tang of teeth jutting from the dog’s lip. The thundering of teeth. Teeth that make thunder behind the lips, the Thundering of something much bigger and more imprisoned.
As I walked down the street in the rain, it began to rain harder. One could hear soft coos of pain from those people who walked in the rain down the street but we all thought nothing of it some may have glanced waywardly upwards. I walked down the street and the rain came harder and it was coated with purpose. It began to hurt the tops of my ears and my scalp, and my hands. Finally I could take no more and ran towards a church the church had cratered steps that had begun to sink into the sidewalk over time and I ran along with hundreds of others and I noticed that people were huddled with fear under every available storefront or in the lobbies of buildings, and in the sidewalk were millions of little dents in the pavement where the water had fallen, and I panicked when the sidewalk itself started to boil and the peripatetic steam rose from the sidewalk in triumph. And I was reminded of a steamy kitchen of a diner when I saw that, and a great many people screamed and ran as the sky let its Rapture fall. A molten spell onto the frontier. Our CITY all soaked with burning water. The lurid Parent of the WORLD made carnivorous. The sky became garbled clouds. They moved silently and amalgamated. Like something whispered from a large, stuck ember. And through the smoke signs and choreography of the clouds were the raindrops equally graceful in their dropping. Onto the changed WORLD gracefully and onto the particles, who make their own streams across the streets and across the WORLD, and I hear a scream far off, then another scream, and the screams gathering like sticks tied together for the winter months, for the hearth, the hearth that will soon be not more than ash against brick. Then the sky setting everything weeping onto the land of our CITY, and the screams pursing the air, and the weeping out of the bucket of the sky. The rain burned the tarps of the stores. Small holes burned through the tarps and hurt those who sought cover under them. It burned the faces of people who could not escape. Hundreds lay curled like a fetus in the middle of the sidewalk, on the ground, with their maimed hands to their maimed faces and blood exiting from a wound not seen, an uncharted opening somewhere in the bundle of scrouched limbs. Blood moving down the street from the spoiled bodies on the street, like a fraud saving face.
One of the bodies looked at me, and her face was not hers anymore, but it was as if someone had taken a fat hide and slapped it onto her face and had punched holes for the eyes to see and the mouth to eat.
Her lips were frail. The fabric of her eyebrows had begun to burn and her eyebrows too looked wormlike and emaciated. We both looked at each other for that second and the rain beat down and her wormy lips suddenly began to crawl unaided down the surface of her face from where they would normally be under her nose and the lips almost slipped off of her face altogether but stopped and rested against her ear while the rest of the eggy membrane of her face strung itself out like cheese over her skull and teeth, and the gums were grey and the bones of her jaw pushed out against the spackle of melting flesh. The rain hurt so much. I kept my face to the ground and kept the rain from touching my face but it still managed to hurt because the wind made the rain fall nearly sideways and my face at first had stung and now was in real pain and it felt as though there was some fluid running between my skin and my bone and the fluid made my cheeks into round sacs of fluid that had no definition. I realized I had to get to a mirror immediately I needed a mirror and as I ran I tripped over an angry and defeated bearded Russian Fellow who looked quite familiar and lay in the street with the rest of the bodies and he tried to tell me something he learned but I didn’t listen and I ran past all the bodies in the street the bodies like pathetic rocks. By the time I got to the church I was burning all over and my face was swelling and my hands were, and my shoulders were stippled with rubies of blood and the blood traveled through the fabric of my jacket so the shoulders of my jacket looked as though they had neat red polka dots or rubies and I stopped and touched my cheek tentatively and I ran with the throng of those seeking safety in the church they all seemed to be running the same way the same way through the pews even how they bended at the knees was the same I touched my cheek tentatively I took my hand away from my cheek because I felt a stinging sensation and I focused on my hands because my own flesh was on the tips of my fingers like cookie dough blood ran down from where I had dabbed my face, and the indentation from my fingers had created wet bloody portals on my face and the blood was cool and soothing as it ran down my chin and around my neck like a horrible necklace. No brains coming out. I ran to the nearest mirror and I looked for a long time and I saw myself the skin on my face now a misshapen mass of skin put onto the wrong skull, and I took my other burning hand and grabbed my face and pulled and beneath there were red muscles and veins breathing in the fresh air, and I pulled the delicate placement of the muscles and veins all like tangled strings and spaghetti I pulled that and it was like pulling my entire head off because the tangled melting hair and the melting accessories that were my ears were all replaced by the entirely new head of a young CHILD with white filled-out cheek and with blush, and with everything sweet about him, and yet his eyes were my own and they popped inhumanly from the young sockets like gargantuan bulbs that lit up in terror once more before going out and dying with my body in the must and heat of that godforsaken church.