Waves so straight
so in formation as to be astonishing.
The flock glides across
them, dancing out nothing
but what can only be
seen as musical notes
playing out a song silent
to the ear, but orchestral
to the eye.
Layered, chasing away the
afternoon in tune, in a
chorus that fades away
to silence as they
pass away from the
capabilities of light.
And now this.
Fading blue and low peach,
ancient to a day.
Water whispers something
to the pebbles, and to the tired wooden
walls that penetrate
everything being gathered
and passing. The relief
that comes with this.
The freshness also.
The temperature now
descends; a routine
that gives confidence
and a sense of safety.
The cold is not
opressive, and here, staring
out at this music, it
is normal to want to be where the
night is not yet than to be
between the steps and the shadows.
I bring this punishment upon myself daily,
Sometimes as a reason to even get out of bed.
I repeat, I repeat.
I reassess. I analyse.
I torture. I exaggerate.
I punish only myself.
Yet all around me, outside this room,
Is nothing but forgiveness.
You came and sat with me and told me your name.
You forgave me.
You glanced and made eye contact with me.
You forgave me.
You came to me through the dancers
And smiled and asked my name.
You forgave me.
You come to me and ask how I am
And introduce me to others.
You forgive me.
But the times when there is no one around
To forgive me, then it does not come.
I am not the one to forgive.
I am the one to torture, to punish.
A punishment, relentless and focused,
Surrounded by a world of forgiveness.
This is a transcript of a turn-taking experiment following a discussion between myself and a friend regarding the nature of how one can either be random or convey the illusion of randomness:
melting crayons on a lightbulb
slow chocolate autopsy
monstrous, neon, knelt
marvellously niggling kilt
massively neurotic kiln
yellowing cellophane kit
tragic amphetamine toke
delicious chestnuts rattle
quixotic deliverance pony
a face shies away?
the eyes, they will say
blown by the microwave
and now a son an heir a knave
more matter with less art
more savage no less justice
what a rogue and peasant slave i am!
but no wolf in the throne room
butterflies with soldiers
gun in mouth blues
the dog in the garden for the last time
alien water slide sensation
god's will not yours not mine
once opened concentrate
sugar come back to the cavity
Bed. Bigger than I remember,
Less inviting than I remember.
Constant pressure behind my head,
Like having my thoughts forced to the front
To join the gnawing exhaustion.
The figures approach me now.
Are you actually standing there?
I need to ask you this.
Awareness leaves the room, a janitor.
He turns, takes one last look,
And turns off the light.
Are you actually standing there?
'Yes, of course I'm here', they reply.
'You have to open the ball'.
They leave before I can ask them what they mean.
'Take your hand to the stars', another instructs
Then turns and leaves also.
I know this one, though.
You? But you died years ago
I say with my stare.
After the compressed night
the day unfolds like an ancient book
And I am the dust within.
A concrete skull lolls on my shoulders.
I balance myself to the mirror.
I can see only me, my eyes,
But I can hear them all behind me,
Fighting to have a look as well.
There is a difference between silence and quiet.
There is a difference and there is a lake, and the lake shows it.
For the lake is never silent and is surrounded on all sides, all the time.
The trees in formation pay their respects, and the hills look down upon the lake with the eyes of some long-past seismic event.
And what of the lake itself, you will ask. What of this lake, and how is it quiet?
The lake looks flat, looks still. Looks silent.
But things are always leaving the lake.
Sometimes things go in, or dance along the surface, recognising the difference between themselves and the lake.
But more things leave the lake.
And you can see things leave, breaking for air, for contact, for light.
All the time quiet.
Under the surface of the lake, this is never quiet and silence does not exist.
Here lies everything that cannot leave the lake, blind and yearning and there forever.
Moving in rhythm with the undertow.
But everything beneath, everything concealed is kept from us.
So we stand at the shore,
near the trees, near the hills,
and we think quiet is the lake.
I am looking at the door,
Through the door, past the door.
There is this thing between where I look.
This is called distance.
There is this thing between what walks through this door.
This is called anonymity.
There is this temperature which shifts with the motion.
This is called longing.
There is this time which passes as I look through the door.
This is called waiting.
I am waiting at the door, past the door, through the door.
Out the door, and at last,
I turn and close the door.
Every footstep is as it was before. Before this, this came along and attempted to make everything different. The two of them were the only two to know exactly what had happened; it was a million years they both filled with whatever they needed to. They sat at the table, and neither of them commented on how the chairs were not comfortable, and how the air conditioning was making the place so cold. They did allow that they had seen each other here on the same day a few weeks earlier. The same place, getting the same coffee.
It's not hard to smile when I'm nervous, he said to himself. My mouth is dry, everything feels like an attack. But I can smile, I can always smile. This is clearly wrong, he thought. But then he didn't know what else to do. Not smile? What kind of an impression does that give?
She nodded phatically along to any of his words, his aural evidence that this was normal, considered. That this was the same. Her cup looked so huge in her hands. Her fingers looked fragile, he thought, like if he should reach out and touch them he wouldn't actually be able to feel anything. Like they wouldn't be the same.
They talked in cycles, like friends do. There was nodding and silent, polite attention from whoever wasn't speaking at that moment. There was no interruption or correction, like friends do. Neither was confident enough for that yet. The coffee went cold long before the seats became unbearable. He kept looking at his coat and hat, wondering if he put them on before or after they would step outside; what do I normally do? She kept looking away at something not there, that was not trying to be the same. It wasn't hard for them to keep the conversation on track, avoiding that which would inevitably separate them like barbed wire between two fields. That would make its own way through.
Outside, he said he wanted to make his own way back. She shivered with a violence that frightened him at first. They went to her car, sat in the same seats as before. I have nothing to say to you. This winter had been vicious and had gotten involved. Nights had been longer and been cruel, and it's strange how no one can be prepared for what always comes. Absolutely everything stays the same.
The car pulled up outside his house, which had a welcoming face for neither of them. The snow crunched as he walked to the door, where he stood and made a joke that she didn't respond to. Always the same. He watched her drive away. The engine didn't struggle against the cold; reliable, built for it. Some things can take the weather, the harsh turns and not change. Thank god for these things. He closed the front door. The house stood silent, as it always did.
As is often the case, the family held one view, friends another.
It was here, through such subtle disparity, that the man was continued.
A son remembered him through one particular story,
A neighbor's cat was walking along their garden wall.
The son remembers the father saying something, and looking up
At his father's face but the sun was glaring down,
Making him a harsh silhouette, shrouded in screaming light.
What he said to the son,
Something about balance, or purpose of direction,
Remained with him always.
The wife didn't say much about him that day, but she didn't need to.
Everyone did the remembering for her,
And they knew this.
She was there with him all along. Her story was his.
Along with him went the need for her to explain him, what he meant.
This is normal, everybody thought.
Nobody questioned her graceful quiet.
An old work colleague talked colorfully of the two of them,
Standing at bars,
With loosened ties and battling opinions regarding
Contracts in Istanbul.
Their contribution was like a living smile,
The most insightful about him, the newest information.
It was devoured by all who heard it.
It was swiftly fused with existing memories,
A new, sudden effort to see him in yet another light
Even though he was gone.
This is normal, everybody thought.
The photographs were passed around
Like weed, like currency.
To be stared at and pointed at over
White tablecloths and dirty wine glasses,
Whilst underneath the table grandchildren in matching shirts
Flew aeroplanes and women rubbed their ankles
Beneath seldom-worn high heeled shoes.
A family member who had not touched a cigarette for five years
Now took that first amber drag
Whilst looking intently into the eyes of
The man's best friend of three decades.
This was where I would find out more, they thought,
Thinking about the nicotine as they attempted to concentrate
On the friend's disclosures.
Was he so very different to what I knew? They think,
Worried that the man they buried today
May have turned out to be a stranger.
But the cigarette helped.
As night came, most of the friends went away.
The family were left, looking so small,
Sitting with those who had travelled too far
Or drunk too much to leave that evening.
The children's aeroplanes were left pilotless under the table.
Pairs of heels left abandoned in the kitchen.
There is no need to remember anymore by this point,
And this is normal, everybody thought.
A guest's head hit the pillow,
Where, before the wine shoved them into a cloudless sleep,
They wondered if they had done him justice today.
They also began to wonder if they had done him justice in life,
But sleep prevented the torment of this.
The wife's head lay on the pillow,
Fully aware of what today meant.
She did not think of him as a memory, but as a husband,
And something she still loved with a bravery against death.
She stared at the ceiling until she slept,
Not once giving in to the temptation of looking at
The empty pillow next to her.
He would tell everyone, I only drive at night these days.
Driving at night is the last true time when a man is living for the moment.
Sure, you can plan a journey and all that,
but no one can guess what's coming next on the road.
Driving at night sharpens the immediacy of it all.
It gives a man time to think, to smile or wallow.
All passes through the window, and I cannot grasp any of it.
Letting it all fly past -
What was that?
This is good. Just keep going.
Everything is mine at night, he would continue.
Everything is with me.
I can hear the tyres on the road, obedient, rhythmic.
I can demand everything to show itself with headlights.
All becomes clear,
Under this, the same night for all beneath it.
The temperature of the car.
The car, this mobile vacuum. Protective, enlightening.
It is silent other than letting me know it is taking me
Where I need to go.
Reminding me that the road is ours, is mine.
For this journey, the road belongs to me.