One day between now and forever ago I went slithering through the aridian desert in silence. In error, I suppose there is always something to hear- the scraping of dry scales, the heat hissing in wavelengths, the thirst of living things. The serenity of brain death contains a certain resonance. God is found in deprivation most of all. The ecstasy of suffering is prolonged by reflection in silence; desire is a soft parasite growing from the absence of the beloved.
The carcasses were arranged before me in equidistance and I wondered whose work this all is. Unable to suck a single drop of moisture from so many bones, so caressed by time, so loved by the sun, so gently exposed, I had to apologize and move on. I had to witness a murder and carve my place into a foul world. I had to move on. Think of the way glass must be handled when heated to formless form. Life is a series of adjustments, losses and gains that are aggregated until they float away, little snowcells separated from sentience, drifting under two identical cores, then finally sinking into a perfect coldness to join all the others and become something else for the rest of eternity.
Suddenly it’s summer and the yearning so specific to sunless days is gone. This winter changed me. For an entire year, my body was put through cyclical amorphia, pulled and stretched in taffy machines; the mind was sequestered and cut off from its own living system. Especially in winter, when the sugar hardens like asphalt, the violence of snapping and twisting becomes habit and demands of survival leave the periphery. Cold crawls into my sanctuaries; forces revert, turn on each other, and create great fires, caverns, and bruises upon the Earth. I have scars from that winter to last me forever, spirals and calligraphic portraits of sullen girls, still shiny and tight, sensitive to saltwater, clinging to skin.
I want one billions scars by next summer and pools to feed them in. Every heart beats one million times a day until one is missed forever. The starlings dipping down into the roses in front of my window every day until the timeline switch. I live a thousand lives every day.
Called upon profusely by the proper sequence of shimmer in parallax tracks of tears, coursed through profoundly, I fall delivered into this summer.
I feel like I’m experiencing some teenage angel awakening. Doesn’t the precipice of something ineffable burn into the sky? Could it really be death this time, like a gunshot in the distance? It occurs to me that the next moment of beauty to witness is this slow spreading vermilion on a white pinafore pocket and suddenly time has dissolved. “Persisting state of rapture and devastation”- this is how we live after the government mandated brain damage. But I am a Girl, and it is Summer, that singular place where my immortality grips the world and supplies it with the bittersweet shimmer of my chlorine eyes. I remember the summer I watched Project X and kissed my friend’s brother in the cool theater; the way he smelled faintly of weed and Hollister cologne. I noticed this as he leaned into me but couldn’t stop thinking about “flamethrower,” repeating the words “ecstasy flamethrower” in my mind, imagining such an object until I felt a careless tongue between my teeth. Nothing could break the moment. I was caught in a dream that was both absurd and electrifying.
I invoke this dream, now, of a perfect summer. Stone and silver relics placed in natural patterns. Primitive markings in blood. Black barrettes and 5 gum packets. This is the summer of the summer of our infinity pool life: a solar deliverance in the shared grave.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”1
Lately I can’t sleep. If I can’t sleep, I can’t dream. If I can’t dream, I can’t go home. Home means something different now, something outside of my heart and paranoid. I go to my house and the water isn’t running and so now how am I supposed to sit on the shower floor for an hour or so. I am relegated to filth, but slowly, every trace of ginseng and earth will fade. I'll get clean.
I want to lose time and I want it back. Trust me, I have excellent posture when I’m eating alone. I carry the conversation when I’m eating alone. I eat scraps and bits when I’m alone. “I have to live a certain intimate glory”2 until 9:48 pm and at that point, the silence and the stillness are heat. Heat in spasms, in layers of suffocation, heavy on my chest and back. “I am a tree that burns with hard pleasure.”(Lispector, 33.) Heat can be healthy, it can facilitate growth- but the water in my apartment is off and the air is dry. Things are lying around that are hard to look at, things that might shatter if the air gets any drier. The air is so dry it is sucking the water from my body and creating a vapor pressure deficit, which means I could literally burst into flames.
What Lispector described as “a strange bodily glory, matter sensitized by the shiver of seconds,” I experience in the vague disconnection of these fragments of myself that still burn, still attach themselves to fragments of you through blurred images long soaked in lovely thoughts (the closest to Heaven), but which live outside of my body now like reverbations. I keep visiting them in dreams, in song, watching them fade like fabric decaying under river water.
I keep looking at pictures, the pictures are great and I feel insane. I pick up a book and it literally bursts into flames. I already know the truth about everything and the end of the world. Everything that’s going to happen to me has already happened with the exception of dreams and I hope this is where my doctor might step in and tell me why it was like the Garden of Eden all over again. I figured it all out, everybody can go back to sleep now- the root of all darkness is fear. Darkness is not inherently bad but fear is the thing that dries the air. of self, of leaving, of night in the city, of losing the scent, of last words and not knowing, of intimacy, of pain, of death, etc.
It already happened or definitely will happen and when I think that way, a pool opens up with vague sweet notes and calls to me, a wingless angel. I can smell night jessamine on your neck and I would love for you to join me but it’s just as well for you to stay. Rules and obligations really are things of deception, if only for complete stretches of time, and the best things are unspoken, mirror images. Of course you never have to ask a mirror to explain itself, you can’t speak with silence. Time bends back and refracts in objects I have certain relations to, and, like Ashe, the remains of a third entity exist now only “amongst the effusive honeysuckles and in the illusory depths of the mirrors.”3 (For now I recall the sensation of looking at you looking at me looking back at you.)
I remind myself that suffering is the closest we can ever get to reaching past the surface of Beauty. Love sends me back to my own desire for goodness. My bones ache as they crack at the divide between looking and having, or eating.4 I’m coming to accept this inability to devour love in a human being, love in the time of lexapro, love in a time of multiplied decay. I think I should learn to love the collapse of the world to get closer to Heaven.
"Favored first prodigies, creation’s darlings,
mountain ranges, peaks, dawn-red ridges
of all genesis, —pollen of a flowering godhead,
links of light, corridors, stairways, thrones,
spaces of being, shields of rapture, torrents
of unchecked ecstatic feeling and then suddenly, singly,
mirrors: scooping their oustreamed beauty back
into their peerless faces."
Rilke, The Second Elegy5
There is a well beneath me, I’m using oil to clean oil from feathers. I hear rumors of divinity, and finally, we have set the sluice for something truly precious
1. Holy Bible: King James Version, Genesis 1.2
2. Lispector, Água Viva (Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells, 1973) 65.
3. Borges, Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Sur, 1940) 6.
4. Weil, Waiting for God (Capricorn Books, 1959) 166.
5. Rainer Maria Rilke. The Second Duino Elegy,. (Llandebie, Wales, 1941) 11-19.