Do you prefer to be shown and not told? Small children have been crying and the last of their sick and saccharine tears are dissolved into the air; their terrible and broken spirits, too, hang lazy on ropes of thick dust, decaying spider's trapstring, thin air frozen in a whimpering strike against the walls. But, despite what is in it there's only vast shadow to be seen. A dry black hole in the center of an overfilled graveyard, I tell you all of this because there is nothing to be shown. All seeing has ceased and if not: no one can show these terrible things; no one wants you to see something like this.
If you have the gift you can find it: a phantom dancing between maddened and hungry atoms, a heartbroken letter written on the elderly skin of a stillborn child. An umbilical chord that runs out of your deaf ears and into the muted mouth of your mother. The knowledge of another shown only as a stream of inky paper feeding from a typewriter into an open fire. Its significance is lost to the broken people of this world; echoing into the dull white milkclouds of twelve billion blind eyes.
But, you, can you read the story on the pages as they burn over black?
-found abandoned on my doorstep during the night hours, read twice and folded into a secret square.-
A memory from a few years ago:
I remember his face flushed sweaty for a day; just before the boils rose up and the fat in his cheeks sunk down low until the cheekbones swallowed it all away. The sheets were burning beneath his back, hot silhouettes of sweat just like ghosts fleeing the haunted house. Thats what I thought about him all the way up until he died, and in the end I wouldn't go see him, just thirty feet away, breath and bones and a belly full of coal.
I am far away now.
I found my old summer clothes in the evening, in a big cardboard box under a crate of school books and broken pencils, they seemed so small that I had to try them on. I know I'm the most awkward person in the world. The shoulders split almost immediately, but still I took small steps down the hallways past my sister's room and carefully turn the light switch on with my elbow. I know I'm sick, I know. The sight of my face seeing my body: teeth clenched and lips drawn to the side, furrowed, frightened, squinting suspiciously into the long stretches of body between islands of cloth. The shirt was dying on the vine. The collar gave out and the whole thing slid down my arm and crumpled into my hand. It looked like I had some exotic purple and yellow bird trapped in my fist: hopelessly defeated and certainly dead.
My sister leaned on the door frame looking in, "What's wrong with you?"
"I don't know, I'm sorry."
"I have to go."
"I'm sorry. Everything is wrong with me."
I slipped by her with legs bound together in denim and undone zipper; they fell to the floor before my bedroom door could open. I fell smiling into the sheets and mattress and rolled to look out open window beside me. Onett was serene electric in the nightblack, Twoson barely sparkling through the heavy treefill to the south, Fourside's glow like the tail of a sunset just to the west. Shrill bug symphonies whispered their songs through the window and I was sweating; it was already the time of the year where the sun baked the grass and trees, and they blew it back into the air at night. Bitter fragrant and grasping.
My sheets were sticky, wrinkled from the humidity, and held my bare back like flypaper. My long feet on the wall; the top of my head propped on the headboard, I had grown a lot since the winter. I was well past puberty, but the growth wouldn't die out. This was the third bed I had in my room, the fourth if you count cribs, and soon there would be some other. I put my hand on the plastic wooden frame and rubbed across the grain, the wax and scratches, and I knew it wouldn't even burn over a flame. I knew that somewhere between two mountains, at the end of a black veined road the other beds I slept in were in a cradle of rot and styrofoam, laminated into a coffin and wanting to die.
My mantra is "I am far away now."
"I am far away from the past, now."
"Last winter? I am far away now."
A mantra should be something affirming, something true. Words of power that you can call on to be safe.
"A lot of bad things have happened in the world, I am far away now."
"I've made mistakes, I am far away now."
But. If you know it. If you can tell that you're far away.
"Some people got hurt, I am far away now."
"Some things can never be changed, I am so far away."
There are only a few feet between the heart and the head, thats not very far away. There are only a few layers on skin and shine between the eye and the eyelid, thats not very far away.
I woke up late in the day, as the day shadows peeled back from the house at 12:30 and I tossed beneath the thin sheet until the heat dryboiled my tongue. I slept in the bathroom then, standing in front of the sink with a paper cup on my lower lip, sleeping into the mirror. I was just trying to keep the dream alive, in the bitter cold shower I lost it, a dream about a snowden, summer home, shoeshine, and sugar. I lost it, like a puzzle sunfaded white, even put back together it's lost all meaning. I am far away now.
Thats how I feel.
I walked to Onett and sat in the grass outside the library. During the day the town was suppressed and silent; sometimes a single car would pass through the outskirts and disappear behind a two story house or slow corner. Bricks and glass, the old fashioned homes of the old towns away from the city. At Down Home Burgers the breathless kids gathered and sunk, bending the plastic chairs across hollow metal bars, stirring salt and bread with their shining fingertips. I ate pale meat and I was gone, no one to talk to, not much to see.
I like kaleidoscopes, I'd like to live that way: changing the shades of the world on a wheel.
I felt drawn to the woods, the old clubhouse where I touched birdleaves as a kid. The plank ladder was falling apart, but I took them up anways, dragging my sole across bark and rotten pine shivs. The little room had become a ruin in a few years, white branches punched holes in the walls and shivering spears of dust and sunlight lay like a pit of palisades across the ceiling and into the floor. Rusted stakes slip up through the old wood and into the room; rejected by nature and birthed back into the tree house where they used to rest, in brown paper bags, waiting to get hammered with a rock into weary tree, quick balancing a board across the brainskin of bark.
It whined and cried as the soft wind pushed it back and across the old tree, my hands were sinking into the door frame and sick sticky sweating on my palms, it smelled like lumberyard but the air felt green and tropical. I climbed in anyways and kneeled on the floor, the low branches brushed through my sleeves and my hair stuck to the wood above. There were still plenty of remnants there, unclaimed by birds, or by the sun, not yet windground into dust or eaten and absorbed into thin green bark: white plastics mostly, string cheese wrappers, Gatorade bottles and the molten aluminum of a juice pouch crammed into the corners and between boards, old papers, most blank, some with liver spots of crayon wax and ink, the plastics were stiff, the papers flaky and dry like onionpeel from a wasp's nest.
I stood unbalanced on the dirt bluffs up in the hills behind town, surfing as I walked sideways across them and came down in my backyard from way up on the upper suburb edge, a tall hill that overlooks the town, after watching the green swelling trees, the ant traffic of town. I stared with dog's eyes at the Minch house; it was sunburned, or maybe blisterskinned and peeling like the boy who lived there. Yeah, it was just like him, a dead house with hollow windows, I slowly walked around it and looked in every pane. It was just gray and dismantled, only that and corpse make-up for the walls, still loose papered and painted to look alive.
There was a rock in my hand, a pepperstone between my fingers and palm that I brought swinging down on the back door, between the glass panels on a cross. The wood shook and the glass was loose, a big white blemish sunk into the wood and I looked away but the world was hot and quiet. I crushed the wood again, dragged the stone over the edgewood on the outside of the door and it flaked away old paint magically. The glass fell away too, fell away onto the kitchen tiles and bounced and multiplied to bells, singing high beyond a human voice's range.
I wasn't even careful when I reached through the shards and unlocked the door, turned the handle from the inside and pushed the swollen door inwards with the rock still in my hand. The house was split in half, the western half was set with dim light and swam with ghosts as I walked across the rooms, stirred up from the carpets, the window blinds or my fingers across the counter tops and low edges. The eastern half was sict deep in shadow, motionless and filled with echoes. The staircase in the center of the house split them, white and undiscerning with faint lines to heavy and black at the midpoint. I stepped towards it one step at a time and came out on the upstairs bedroom.
It was pretty clear why they left right away.
I don't know what the stains were, what the smells are. They left his bed behind; it was the only furniture left in the house, in the middle of the room and well away from the stains below the windows. It was bare and timeless. I walked around it slowly: the mattress was pushed to the right, looked slightly yellowed but retained its floral stitches, its white tide looked harmless, but the smell gave it away. I could tell they left it because they were told it was deadly, it was rank with sweat and body, with medicine, rank as a hospital ward. I set the stone on the pillowspace and it sandy slid down to rest on a thread drawn ravine, scratchy dropping glass diamond slivers between the tight cloth and the air.
The bedframe was oak, polish, pristine and hourglassed several times on the post, across the top of the headpanel's punchhole carvings, an old bed. I put my hand on the closest post and it was slick and cold. I felt its length, across the headboard too, all around the bed until I felt the raw wood, he had scratched his name beneath the sidewalls, lower case and spaced out: p ok e y.