I wish I knew how to categorize this for you: is a note to myself or a story? It has been a long time since I wrote anything, fingertips chattering while I fidget and blink, unsure if I’m doing a thing correctly when I know the idea of correct is a false concept. I know that it is not black and white or shades of grey but a whole violent array of colors, unending variations on shades. Our reasons can not be defined in simple sentences, and how much of what I’m telling you will you miss; how much of what I’m telling you is implied emptiness and shadows? Will you catch the curve of my words that breaks the light? I know my textures are unbecoming. Matter is too hard to put down on paper; like catching an insect that drips out of your hands when you offer it as a unwanted present. I will lay this out for you, without pretending grace or skill. Dragging a stick through red mud, leaving shapes I hope might tell you what I wish to be heard. Listen: I saw her and I was caught, maybe not helpless but something close to it. That was it. We got together, like there was any other choice, and there were months and months of less and more, weights and balances with our fingers sliding over the scales while we whispered how much we would always love each other. We tipped the balance, cheating ourselves and each other with the peculiar counterfeit currency of sincerity that is only ever exchanged between those who feel like they have everything or nothing at all to lose. Our paradoxes’ amalgamation made us feel untouchable together, untouched by each other. The one and the other. See how I struggle not to do the same thing, only a little bit different, only completely not the same over and over? I told her almost everything while telling her practically nothing, the records I kept long faded, and without a script to read from I can tell a pretty story but it won’t be by the book, and I try my best not to lie to the ones I love. I try. Currently, I feel like I’m holding out some dripping piece of guts to you, the audience, this stupid stage of hasty language and I smile because I know I look ridiculous, it’s sick and overdone, but how close we can be and yet so far from whatever it is we were or were not looking for. What was looking for us.
I saw her and I was caught, maybe not helpless but something close to it. That was it. We got together, like there was any other choice, and there were months and months of less and more, weights and balances with our fingers sliding over the scales while we whispered how much we would always love each other. We tipped the balance, cheating ourselves and each other with the peculiar counterfeit currency of sincerity that is only ever exchanged between those who feel like they have everything or nothing at all to lose. Our paradoxes’ amalgamation made us feel untouchable together, untouched by each other. The one and the other. See how I struggle not to do the same thing, only a little bit different, only completely not the same over and over? I told her almost everything while telling her practically nothing, the records I kept long faded, and without a script to read from I can tell a pretty story but it won’t be by the book, and I try my best not to lie to the ones I love. I try. Currently, I feel like I’m holding out some dripping piece of guts to you, the audience, this stupid stage of hasty language and I smile because I know I look ridiculous, it’s sick and overdone, but how close we can be and yet so far from whatever it is we were or were not looking for. What was looking for us.
We lived together and shared each other’s food and bodies with hunger or with the disinterested glaze of Things I Must Do to Live, the boring to-do list that keeps us running so less efficiently than machines. I run on shallow fuels, as if I were some mechanical thing modified to operate with greed for irrelevant things; the only self-worth I understand is a noise I can pull forth from the person I am with, something that is reflexive, uncalculated, in only this I feel sincerity. I am vague and idiotic but if anyone can figure me out, maybe it will be you, who I am telling more than I told almost anyone else. So I am a simple thing, with not much purpose but many functions, and I calculate more than the average calculator, I’m sure, but three times as badly and my numbers are off because I haven’t done any studies on paranoia. All I have is speculation, and oh what a useless chart that would make. I made her breakfast, and she ate without being satisfied because we are all creatures that want endlessly, communicated or not. We want and we are in want of things to give, this cartoonish cycle of desire and disappointment. Emotional slapstick, eternal vaudeville. So I don’t know what I’m saying, I’m just laughing at myself wrapping poet’s words around stupid, unspoken truths. Shall we get to the point?
I believe, and I have believed, that things are not all explicable within the science we have discovered. There are things we avoid, so many happenstances we simply ignore from the sheer pain of attempting to understand them. Pain is such a vague word. It can be any kind of pain, any breed, any species. The pain of something buried deep, like a glint of glass in a riverbed that would most certainly open your fingers if you dig for it. The pain of dissatisfaction, the weeping, oozing sore of the certain dullness of your life, the unimportance, the road to unawareness you are forced to travel with every breath you take. The pain of things you could understand but choose not to, and the knowlege of your ignorance itches places you can’t scratch, worse and worse every day until you’re ready to rip the skin off your back so no one can see. Besides that, don’t you know about deep sea exploration? And how much bigger is everything around is, below us, or up. So do I think there isn’t a science for what I want to talk about? No. There is a science. We don’t understand it. Adknowlege it. But it’s got to be there because things are explicable in some way, shape, or form, no matter their form or their way. Shapes, I don’t talk about anymore. Form is different, like a letter or a chart, to be filled out or displayed. Shapes, the unform, the anti-form, the could be anything. I am ignoring the point again. So, at the base, she was my last chance and my last test. My love formed every way I could love her, and I loved her each of them, down to the last.
We were twined on the bed, our struggle with each other and ourselves for the night passed, eyelashes touching cheeks and her cool skin against my warmth. And I’ll tell you right now, there’s two ways this story ends, for you, not for me. There is too much duality in this, too many connections, I use commas like it’s all a list, clues for myself, no treasure for you. Do you want to hear the first one? Or the second? They are the same. Linear means nothing when you’re drawing lines between things that may or may not be connected, shorted connections turning the lights out, one by one. If this feels like one jumbled smiling simile, it is. Oh, it is. This is what led up to the happenings: I saw stars. Not the stars like from our planet, with eyes unaided by a telescope. Stars like the stars I remember seeing for the first time on a poster somewhere; I was young and transfixed at this massive cloud of cosmic brilliance, a picture of the Adromeda Galaxy slightly worn with age, shining in the lights of the hall. Like that, coming in the window, oh, the shape. And then I started to remember, slick and sudden, unstoppable like retching, skin against skin sliding endlessly. I remembered.
I remembered the shape, the voice just beyond the sickly circle of guttering light, frozen on the icy sidewalk in rural Michigan, more stars than I could have ever imagined screaming morse code while I stood, stark, noticing my shadow and the way the snow fell everywhere but on me. It was singing in a way I can’t explain, singing not with song, no tune I could transcribe for you but from the sheer force behind the words, the communication more sweet and dark than anything I’ve ever heard. The colors that were behind my eyes are not worth even attempting to explain; I know at the height of my pretention, my desperate affectations in my urge to try to make anyone understand, I could still never evoke that in you. The wind didn’t whistle; there was nothing jaunty about the way I couldn’t feel my fingers and my lips were nonexistent. I was so cold, my inefficient heartbeat struggling to rush my blood in freezing veins, like trying to warm a child with a candle. I can’t tell you how little it mattered, even when I felt the inside of my teeth begin to freeze, my tongue lying cold against the pulse in the bottom of my mouth like a dead thing. It went on. When the rapture was fading, it said to come. It said to leave. It said that I could go where I wanted, all I had to do was say yes. My knees shook and I dropped my cigarette and I still stood, waiting, oh this god that is speaking to me. It questioned, it tugged, it let me know that it knew everything I had ever felt, perfect, frightening empathy. It understood. It said it understood. I wonder if I surprised it. I said no. I thought there were things here for me.
I remembered the shape, the dusty swell of blood into my face when I felt what smelled like old books behind me, this air that felt just as soft as papyrus, strained and pounded by slaves in Egypt, old and spiced, and out of that so oft-mentioned corner of my eye I saw the angles. Sharp, papercuts, folding and breathing with soft rustles. This whisper was like any other I’d heard that day, someone saying something in the still air of a building full of knowledge that will someday be burned. Do we hold back out of respect for the quiet, or is it fear? It told me I could learn. I could be taught. I had the space. It laughed smooth and short, then told me that I had enough room because of all the parts that were broken out of me, packed down like rich soil that protects the creatures that sleep for decades in under the Amazon. I wasn’t told I have potential, we all have potential. I just had room. Not a vessel, it explained, not a vessel but a socket, you were made to understand and recieve and fit. So much to teach you, and isn’t that what you’ve wanted, knowledge? It touched my mind, sneak previews of shadows of teasingly distant truths. Oh god, how I wanted. I waited. Paper slid across my cheekbone and I imagined my skeleton, how strong it must be inside of my skin. We are all not so strong, and that is no arrogance on my part, just experience and I say it with no pleasure, just a shrug. It was not because of my strength; don’t think I’m saying that. I said no. I thought there were things here for me.
I remembered the shape, dim in the moonlight, and the low, monotonous keening of my terrified friend, holding hands in the Wisconsin woods, smelling the sap from the trees and getting up the courage, swallowing my bile and slowly moving forward to the neatly arranged body of the doe, looking at first glance like a very convincing statue, carved and painted with horrifying relish, eye sockets not just empty, but clean. I let go of her and I bent, knees sinking slightly into yesterday’s mud. I touched the edge of one of the cuts and it was like feeling some kind of synthetic leather, melted. I don’t know. The intestines were folded with horrifying care, like your mother’s scarf. How do I explain with pretty words this analytical dissection of something that was alive? How can I move you with an explanation of the chart scratched into the ground, internal organs laid neat and straight. There was no blood, which made me all the more aware of mine. Oh, it rushed. Let’s go back, I heard her say, like a whisper. Let’s go back and pretend we didn’t see. I said no. I ran my hand over the soft fur, feeling each rib, wondering at the perfect line that separated where hide ran under my hand and where white, clean bones lay in a row, like gapped teeth sticking out from under a hairy upper lip. I said yes. I heard the chanting in the forest as we walked back, passing the same trail marker eight times. Nine times. Stuck in a unbelievable loop, watching her shrink in terror and refuse to speak of it. She woke up with two new scars and I moved away a month later and we never talked about it again. The chanting said to run, go out, go off the path and push past whatever strange barrier must be holding us: a moment caught in a bubble to keep us occupied while whatever was happening went on and on and on. It said I could rip my way out. It said I would discover. All of these things were said without words, just knowing. I said no. I thought there were things here for me.
So I remembered these things and readied myself for another, watching it form. Watching it shape. I felt the light on me and I knew my partner in crime, my dear heart could feel it too. I was, of course, wrong, but I knew it all the same. This shape did not speak to me. It did not bother. It waited, and it formed, and I could see its veins pulse with the same frequency as mine and I closed my eyes, which didn’t help at all. This is a love story but it had already ended with the cold girl I had wrapped myself around, futile affection that could not stop what we had always been trying not to chase and come upon the clearing that I realized too late was at the end of the path. The star shape did not speak to me in words, but just by existing. All of the things that had been offered to me before, each outstretched opportunity was implied in the radiant nebulae that would not fade. The minute stretched on and on, and I remembered that my lady was not breathing. Oh, how predictable we are, and how well we fit the mold of the people who were trying their hardest to slip out of the stream; our evolution ends in failure. I said yes, you must know I said yes and maybe you saw it coming but I didn’t see anything inside of the black plastic bag, and I ran my tongue over the smooth coating with satisfaction, the womb, breathing in my own air, crying and smiling because I said yes, and what is more delicious than an assent to something you have wished for, flirted with, kissed slyly on the cheek with blood burning and unending, panting desire hidden behind a wicked smile. The pills settled heavy and soft in my stomach, hands coming up from inside me to hold myself. I closed my eyes. The shapes became forms. I said yes, because there was nothing here for me after all, and I was so glad.