Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a chill in the night

You think it feels like waking, though you are certain that you are awake. The slow unraveling of that dirty bass line, the voice so light and sweet and yet somehow smothered by the shaping of words. As if that flavor of redwood and rusted nails had seized the tongue, and shorn beauty of every pleasure. As if the god that abandoned you had marked you on the inside, your mark of Cain a tumor or disease. The music feels so sudden, so strange that you are momentarily both of and outside the world. Waves of abstraction slide up your cold fingers, notions of identity and impermanence cloud and clot your thoughts. The song ends, you think, but it has done its damage. There is no language like awake and alone at four in the morning. There is no calm like that arriving once every spark subsides.

The routines that usually contain this all fail, the television blunted, the words all too vain. The excessions of soul you thought could save you if only you could endure the sinking feeling of empty that all that feeling required have left you cold and weary. Haunted by invention and indifference, you braid sickness and sin in your mercurial drawl, jabbering aimlessly beneath the tide of your breath. Steer clear of mirrors, stay off the phone. Every evil of survival has a price. Every habit that sustains steals some secret value, some measure of hope, some taste of freedom. Nothing as sobering as an urge towards the impossible.

The world seems plainspoken, stripped of these coddling myths and whispers. It has its shimmers and its fires marked more clearly than any road, more honest than ten thousand bibles. Energy is spent and it wanders and stills. The fever bright of fire, the dull calumny of libelous ice. The sky salted with all these stray dreams and wings, storied constellations and hunting owls, nothing of note in your ambling hopes and wounds. Another song is playing, and there are tears flowing hot and quick. The tricks of these idle moods are so clever and varied that you manage to feel yourself spread thin over the course of your life, from womb to whisker this soulful sustain. Time contains all these changes to mass and mien. The boneyard stirrings of loss, the feasts full of surprise, the sway of calm and violence. You weep for all the losing, cry for all the joy, embrace tight all these attachments. The chill night air will teach you this lesson, skin tight and too close for dancing: embrace this suffering. There is only one direction ever. Follow it with each splinter that poisons your heart.

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