the part beneath the line
And another season starts to wind itself into the ground, like it were returning to the center of the world, like the dwarves who are preparing, making careful gnawings on the walls of the world, because that time of reversals is very close, and they do tend to increase in chaotic occasional sporadic bursts on the way from here to there. However. It’s not for us to know why we are stuttering and the milk and the blood of another time keep running down the sides of our faces whenever we meet the new and perfect lover. It’s not for us to know why there are more forces working toward nailing the chains into the wall by the wrists of the living, and why there are fewer and fewer with each passing generation who are willing to speak on behalf of the living. Fucking phantoms all of them, living a life already in the grave, as if these things were already decided. Not for me to understand why the living are acting out their version of what they think is death, perhaps capturing something to make it still, a cat playing with a mouse on the edges of the waves of history, and history is always at the center of things. It’s not for us to know why she can’t wake up, or why she can’t go back to sleep.
This is the exact kind of morning, though, where it’s apparent that there is something about to begin, and if I were in my right mind I would do what I can to warn the living that it can’t be for the best, not in the way that anyone can conceive it, and for those who understand that the underside of things is where the diseases start to grow, and where things begin to decay, and where things are cut away down to the bone, to that point where we are all on the verge of death or birth, that’s when and where the dividing line between the best and the worst makes itself terribly clear, and the dice falls always to one side and not another, but it falls because it is pulled, that is to say, gravity has everything to do with it, and we have moved through time and space to make things fall the way they fall, not that we control gravity, but we affect it.
Enough so that.
The verge between this kind of birth and this kind of death is always approached at the same speed as any other verge, and I don’t know if I can speak so clearly about approaching verges, not here, not like this, not with all these people watching.
That the things we do in the morning have threads that repeat in the evening. It’s reaping and sowing, and the lesson is not necessarily one of karma, but more like: you just fucking watch yourself all right.
On this verge between seasons, between creeping and stowing, the insides of all of our jackets are lined with needles, and the blood on our chins is not appropriate for public places. And it’s at this verge that history herself does become visible, that gray cat made of dust that you see out of the corner of your eye whenever you are in a particular shade of grieving, history is visible, and this is that time of year.
I would give more than these teeth and this marrow to love her again for the space of an afternoon, but here is where I have to remember something entirely important, that is, history is that kind of lover who always has a razor inside her mouth, and stands at the edges of the playground with large eyes that shine like a baby animal, and she shakes like a baby animal, the kind of cold that only the oldest bones know, and she makes you want to hold her and make her feel safe, but before you get there, there is other work to be done. And the worst of it for her is that every time something starts to turn the insides of her locks upside down, that shining point of slipperiness where one decides to slide down into the world of the senses and surrender to the falling, that’s the very same point when the blood comes trickling down the sides of her mouth. At that point everyone in the room understands that it is much too late to apologize. And that this last earthquake has only just started, and the waves that are lining up for the shore are doing so in successively darker shades of red.
So while on the one hand I understand that it is kind of comfort and assurance to the living to say kindly things like, “The small things, they don’t really matter,” in truth, they really fucking do matter, and it’s much heavier than that, and entirely worse than anyone could imagine. At the end of the day, when those men who lived their lives in suits and are now dying so all alone because they behaved like total bastards every day of their existences, when they look upon the one or two people who can still stand to be in the same room with them, and say, with one of their wasted and dying breaths, “I didn’t sweat the small stuff,” that is the very moment when the dead ones come laughing.
For two reasons: one because their concerns were terribly petty and two because they even missed out on the details there.
It’s not necessarily necessary then to point out that most of the time spent living is an engagement with missed opportunities. God is in the details, and the small stuff is worth sweating over.
That’s entirely neither there nor here nor anywhere, so beware, while I am entirely morose and loose enough to speak a little too freely this morning, there are entirely important developments, and it’s entirely essential to pay close attention to how and why things are starting to unfold in unfortunate directions.
Because the story is always a love story, and there’s never any way out of that (hold on for just a moment, because that needs a qualifier, but not an excessive one, any story that is told from the other side of the grass is romantic at its roots) ((keep in mind, further, that because of my unique position, I can eat the roots whenever I want, so I may not entirely respect the genre, and no one should unless they are trained to be that fucking stupid) (((I am not unique, only as unique as you, but there will never be another one like you until the end of the world when the dwarf who is your double takes your place, so you just fucking watch yourself))).
The heart is a drum and the tongue is a drum, and this is a perfect morning for playing on her heart with his tongue, but it’s much too far from that kind of season. He didn’t expect it nearly so keenly that he would wake up again so very unserenely, where that copper witch seemed as if she were kissing him from the other side of his eyes, from inside his head, like she had worked her way inside his head, and the very terrible thing is that he knew he invited her, and he prayed that she would come. He always prays and she always comes but neither of them are awake enough to recognize that this is the way things are happening. It’s often enough that when he thinks of her and she thinks of him there are riptides that make the waves flutter in ways that no one could have ever suspected, and the world turns on an entirely different kind of axis. Nothing as bold as love, but another kind of lover altogether, this being the dividing line where anything might pop through the surface. It’s never wrong to hold the tongue (except for when it is absolutely time to play it like a drum, and that time should be clear to anyone with a notion for the motion beneath the belt) and let the moment come and settle, and this is what he’s done, for so long now that his small apartment is entirely flooded over with still water that’s much too cold to live in.
He has been taking to sleeping on a rubber mattress, then, like all people might do when they are living after a flood, and even though he is convinced he slept through it, he can remember very specific things about every scar that came from it. It’s one of the peculiar things about this generation, having been trained to consider their narrative authority questionable at best. Their experience denies their perceived unreliability, and very much like the generation they are nipping heels with before and after, it seems to be a part of a very elaborate plot to cheat them out of something valuable.
Knowing that you’re right about something is a curse to every righteous generation, and wondering if you might be wrong about everything is the curse that’s given to their counterparts, and it does go back and forth every time, in the same, studied measure. The generations bounce back and forth like a metronome, and although there are some who might think it is modulating, moving faster and faster each time until there is no difference between right and left and life and death, that is not the case at all, it is always the same exact speed and frequency each time, because we are living according to energetic forces that are very very old, and nothing humans can do can change the velocity of the waves.
Except. Except except except. The way he thinks about her, and the way she thinks about him.
The truest love the world has ever known has been that one between half-mortals, who do not recognize the forces in each other, and assume only half about the other. That’s why this story works so well, because of the tension. Or perhaps it’s better to say that this is why this story is about to work, because we are about to see the tension at play, and it will be so goddam beautiful that your heart will have broken long before your eyes have taken in the words such is the power of the story-telling at work here. So. This morning. He wakes up and she is scraping the insides of his eyes with her imaginary tongue, she, the kind of witch who works long distances (though not always accurately), and she, she is wanting to make his windows clear so that he can see her, and when he wakes up she is the only thing he can think about, it’s his tongue on her heart, his breath on her sternum, he wakes up smelling the smells of her skin and his breath, something unique and impossible to replicate.
So he wakes up in love, and she is gone, and the elders in the land of the living are advising him not to be caught up in any kind of longing, but the youngsters who died before their time are advising him to just love the heart and the chest and the body and the soul of that woman already, even if she is far away, because that’s all there is, and it won’t kill you, necessarily, but it very well could do the opposite, and bring you to life, as if for the very first time in this waking shaking trembling world.