Sunday, September 7, 2014

And what they call reformation.

Jesse S. Mitchell

previous part, The Laundromat here

At first he seemed like Johnny Rotten.  Blasting holes in everything.  every time he spoke.  He would open his mouth not like a cannon but like a handgun, two arms like machete.  It was impossible.  You couldn’t write words around him, nothing fit, every one of them burst into tiny syllables.  A mess.   And unacceptable.  I had to let him go.  So, he is out there free now. Sorry really, but you know characters never die, law of conservation of matter and energy and all of that.   And I can’t keep them all around, real people are dying everyday and my brain just aches.
My um
It rips your brain apart.
But bravery, bray-ver-reee.
The only thing ever lacking to anyone when they endeavor to take up letters, is a kind of bravery.  A sick masochistic courage like a gruesome curiosity, a willingness to poke your fingers into the deepest, goriest wounds.
That is what is lacking, lacking…that ole courage.  Courage and coldness but vulnerability too and long sight.  Good eyes and ears and a strong back.    
But I left him with the hair, close to the head almost shaved  but thick and bright red.  And with the eyes, big and expressive, like things that are alive.  Still alive… And with the slight but grimacing slouch to his shoulders.
Other than that, nothing the same.  A new person is coming.  They have collided.  And eventually they will fuse together like stars or atoms or galaxies in space and I’m just watching now for the explosion.  That explosion. When that happens, we will begin.
Not only, not only have I seen the shadows fall but I have watched them move.  The minuscule moment to moment movement, how they grow and shift from side to side and then die away.  I’ve studied them.  I know the importance of an hour of a day.  How we change as the hours decay and decline and go sliding away.  I know the differences.
We are naturalistic things.  Being a part of nature.  We let the seasons change us.  Seasons ghost me, they haunt my every thought.  Because I know, I know, I know that you are never closer to the worst greyest day of deep winter than on the high July summer after noon.  Right below you, beneath you, looking right back at you.  Every moment of your life is this way.  And what is more is that most of it is dictated by ancient primitive hormonal traits that only served to mark out zones of dominance, watering holes, toilet areas.  That sort of thing. You are mostly in control of nothing.  But everyone knows this, everyone feels it, the weightlessness behind your knees, the paranoia, so on with the runt.  Tusks to the ground.
A parsec from cosmic annihilation, a second away from respiratory failure, glimmer and then fade.  Now we are all gone.  Dead.
But I’ve gone berserk, left out in the sun too long.  Warped mind.  I don’t see straight.  Spent too long trying to tying together loose fragments, arms and legs, souls, too long cobbling men and women alive, all in my imagination. Brain as factory.   How industrious.  I mean, I can’t look down at my hands and not see a hundred different hands of hundred different arms, arms of a hundred different people.  People who all swung those arms for a million different reasons, they all need those hands of a million different reasons.     So, you lose your mind.
God is dead.  Fuck rock and roll.  Hold heaven for ransom.  Let it rain razor blades, screaming Jay Hawkins, Greta Garbo movies.  It’s the end.
And that is what it becomes a long rolling gasping rambling monologue speech given to yourself in the  mirror, with all the soap scum and speckles of toothpaste and shower fog.
But I would scatter it all to the winds, every bit, every bacchanal, every pandemic.  Every avenue, every Seagram building, every drug addiction, every war, every single last ugly festering word of it, I would scatter it all, civilization to the winds…
And let it blow away…
Hidden deep whenever it came to lay.
Whatever finds it, can keep it.
Forever and ever and ever and ever.
Or I take them from dreams, odd people with odd characteristics, little ticks and seemingly endless possibilities.  I take them whole cloth or bits and pieces from out of my slippery surreal slumbering imagination.  Souls who don’t belong anywhere, surrounded by events that should never happen, days that never should take place, wasted energies, empty hours filled with bizarre atonal moments.  Dead eyed dreaming, hands up to heaven, begging.
Or I make them wish for perfection, lust after it, I make them want things and that is how they are defined.
And then I disappoint them.
Or I make them believe they are Paul Newman, Steve McQueen. St. Augustine.
And then I disappoint them.
I take that away from them, I make them sinners and then force them to be selfless, or the any other way around.
If I had my way, I would find them, hidden away in my mind, and let them live.  Let them develop any way that the spirit moved them.  But that is not a possibility.  There are wild other compulsions at work.  Things must happen.  A kissing door between heart and head, a swinging pendulum that mark offs the rapid distinctions amid living and dead.
That is how I know I am alive,
The most alive.
And then I have to give him a villain.   Or a foil.  Or a sounding board.  An accomplice.
Some shogunate  sorceress, a fascist femme fatal.  Or maybe he’s the assassin.  Maybe he is a scoundrel.
And probably it is all my fault, beyond their control, for putting them in such situations.
Lift an eyebrow.  Take note of the time.
Because to be alive is to be full of possibilities.    Can’t commit to anything yet, you have to let thoughts just happen.   You can’t force it.
And you have to find some place for them and everything to exist.  Someplace real?  Too many details.  Someplace imaginary?  Too few.  But someplace else.  You have to build some other empire, new but completely out of old lumber, old brick.  You have to recognize it but it has to surprise you.  You have to know it by the creaks of the floor but still lose your way through the halls.
Or I take them from me, little pieces I rip away and roll between my fingers until pliable, like clay.  I have had no shortage of exposure to strong personalities, iron wills, awful abominable losers.  Lots of material.
And everything is like me, all mixed up, everything is loud, a lot of pushing and shoving, swinging legs, tapping feet, everything goes wild every minute on the minute, chaos but scheduled chaos.  Everything is always almost out of control, almost.  A spinning top.  A whirlwind.
Pull your balaclava down, more soul robbing to do, sit straight up and imagine.  Revolutionary.  Radical orphan words begging in the back of my mind to be written, something just to be uttered.  Silence is absorption of all the sound, like black devours light, to speak a single word is to make a tiny glint along the horizon-sea.  Watch the waves come up over it and drown it out, the dragon eats it, but you  saw it, you heard it, that slight momentary crackle, that lightning flash.  Wait.  Don’t think.  Wait for the effects.
Or I make them born pure animal beasts, milk-fed, all covered in hairs, just like me, just like everyone.
And then if they are monsters, it’s on their time.

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