la parte baja de la espalda

Just because there were too many banshees running through the neighborhood, because it was that time of year, and that kind of neighborhood, it had to begin next to a grave.  The entire story had to start somewhere close to a grave, one that had been closed for a good many years, and one that had opened very recently.  There also had to be dogs, wild dogs that live in the forest, and only a few will know why entirely, and the ones who guess will be half-right.  There also had to be a series of three, three somethings, and because he was so afraid of not getting the ritual right, he made the rite by knocking three times on the ground.  When, in fact, the three had already been knocked for him, in other ways entirely.

The first was the father, sick with sickness in the father parts, the parts that make any father feel part of something larger and deeper.  The second was the brother, sick in the mind parts, the parts that make it easy not to mind when the inside is bleeding a little more than it should, because that always seems just right when the mind is just not right.  The third, something less urgent and more selfish, was his own work, not the essential work but the rent-paying work, being examined as a living body for art students and medical students, selling his body in essence (but not the essence).  He was joking with his friend the night before about how they never had the courage to sell their bodies on the streets, and he was making ends meet by selling it in rooms with better climate control than hotels.  It was interesting how things change over time, and how things always stay like they were at the beginning of time, when we can learn how to slow the breath.

So that was the three, and none of the three was enough to drive him to hide his head by a grave on the night the story began.  It would have to be something related to lost impossible love, and it would be even better if there was a revolution involved, and that was entirely possible, but at the root, in the roots that fill up everyone's grave over time, it was something else.  The story began in the grave because he wanted another story to begin, and that seemed like the best place to begin, so that's how it began.

There are always more threes.  Three treatments for three weeks in a row for cancer (not him, this is his father again), and three times that his brother tried to find him somewhere in the dark in the last three days, and three times that the dead called his name before he fell asleep, three times in one night.  There are always more threes.  We miss them like we think we miss the dead, so they have to keep recurring until we start paying attention. 

So it begins then in present tense, in a tense series of threes, by an open grave, one that he opened, and when it opens he is covered in the dirt that covered up the body of a baby boy.  So the present tense is preparing for a release that it can't possibly do on its own, it needs a lover, and the lover is the future, because that's how the present spins to look at the past, for the kinds of webs of connections that happen in series of threes, and the past is like the dirt of our own grave pushing us forward into the present.  So it begins with a threesome, then, with the past and present and future all looking for each other in the dark, hoping they will be the center of attention for at least a little while (and they will each get a turn, this is something that I'm saying only as an assurance, because assurance is the best way to get through those impossibly long nights, when no one wants to admit they are too tired).  And so it begins with him, who we have not described, and me, who has not been properly introduced.

I can't introduce myself the way that anyone would really like, because there is too much of these pieces of bone and dried blood on my hands to be accepted into just any room, so I have to keep those stains secret because I need access to all the rooms.  I will say, though, that I was once him, but had to give that up in order to become something else, something that could see a little further.  He, on the other hand, is easy to define, at least easy for me, though not always very readable to the ones he loves or the ones who love him (and they are always the same, even though he likes to pretend that they're not, in order to make his own life much deeper than he thinks it is; we all do that, though, at the end of the day we like to tell ourselves that this lover never really knew us, and the next one will likely be the same, even if they are the same person with the same basic skeletal and cellular structures; why we do this isn't entirely a mystery; it's related to the romance of these dark times, where nothing is resolved, and nothing can be counted on, especially love, or because of love).  ((Love, on the other hand, is a complex word that needs a definition before we go any further.  I feel that we've already reached the point in our relationship where we can talk about these kinds of things.  Love is a foolish choice of words whenever we might be talking to a theorist who has no sense of humor.  But I have never met a theorist who is worth their salt who does not have a sense of humor, and never ever without a capacity to be touched in the center of the part of the self that responds to words like love, even when they are not just whispered in the dark to make things go a little faster.  Love is, for the purposes of who we might be to each other in this story, love is the only thing that's left after everything else has already happened.  Love is what comes after jealousy or suspicion or greed, love is what comes after infatuation and obsession plays out long enough to reveal the beloved object as entirely without perfections, love is what comes after everything and everyone else has already come and no one wants to go to sleep.))

He, then, now that we know that I'm me and I can't tell you any more (because of the blood and bone on my hands), he is exactly like you, only a little heightened, because we all like to see ourselves represented in ways that are shades more exaggerated than we really are.  The "really are" is of course entirely problematic for a number of reasons that any reasonable gender theorist can tell you, and there will be a bibliography offered later for further reading on that.  But before that, this, this story begins by a grave, the one that held the bones of his brother, the one who died before he was born.

"I have seen too many wars from this side of the dirt, and every war reminds us of where we were when we walked on the surface.  We are the dwarves that haunt your dreams and enter your room when the door is locked and everyone else has gone to sleep.  Wars characterize every age, and every generation likes to think they are going through something extraordinary.  In truth, you really are, because every generation is exceptional, because of the repetitions and not despite them.  But I've had the chance to learn some secrets since I've been away, and I learned how to stroke the bones you will one day leave in place of the thing you know as you, and I know the sweet taste of the meat you leave behind, and I look forward to meeting you again one day.  But for now, I can only know you as a ghost, and for me it is an unbearable distance.  The distance between the living and the dead is unbearable for all of us, but it is no different than the distance between lovers while they are living together and trying to learn what it means to love each other.  The sense of separation is the same, and always there, and it lies underneath everything that we do, on either side of this uneasy equation.  I died before my time, and this means we have the same tragedy, because everything that you ever loved or will love has to die before its time, in order that you learn how to do this.  Those that understand these rules make the best dancers.  I don't have to tell you why."

(to continue)


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