part nine of six

(Things were kind of upheaved, and there wasn't anything to go on to make sense out of anything, and all he knew was that all the usual places to put levers were moved, and all the familiar identities had stopped working.  Like so many people who get caught in a storm where there is no rain, it was impossible to navigate because it looked simple.)

(HE says something very self-indulgent.)

HE: I know these threads aren't cut, but they look cut and they feel cut and the sounds are all sounds of threads when they are getting cut, but that bird in the belly hurt for so many days in a row that it finally got old, and stopped waking me up at night.  And my little girl knocks on the window where I'm smoking to the moon, and she's showing me drawings of a woman with the head of a bird.  It's an uneasy time.  Five days ago I became a godfather again, stuck in a repetition of that ceremony that brings things back to life.  I can see the ghosts of the things that speak to me at night, and they tell me to pay attention to my hands, to make things and let the enchantments come from them.  It's not that I'm out of spells, but I don't have any good ideas about what I want to see next, and that means that I'm clearing things away, and cleaning up the things that have been silent on the floor of my room for too long.  And there are some mornings when I see the road in front of me with the eyes of a bird, and there are lots of days when my eyes are as sharp as a cat's, and all the muscles in my wrists and back are growing tight, ready to do something, ready to make some graceful forward motion that will put me back into this life, in this body, on this road. 

(Now he's on fire, in front of a class, and he's talking too fast because the ones who are paying attention are thinking too fast.)

HE: So, uh, there's reasons why repetition is comfortable, and why it can make you uneasy, and when you see the repetition outside yourself, repeating itself, well, that's uncanny, that's the uncanny, that's what you're doing, but you tell yourself you're doing it by yourself, so it doesn't matter so much, no one knows, but when you see it, when it plays out in front of you, everyone knows, and you get that feeling that the clues are all there, and everyone else in the world has put them together, and they're waiting for you to come to the same conclusion: either this has to change, or this has to stop, because it can't go on like this forever, because it can't, because we die, because everyone dies.  Every love story has an end, and it's always somewhere close to the grave, or in the grave.  Dead lovers might come singing, but eventually you'll see them yourself in the grave.  That's the best reason to burn yourself into the side of a rock, and let the oil in the skin leave the mark behind, because we always leave traces.

STUDENT/Objet A:  Twenty years ago I would have said I don't understand you, because you aren't in love and you've never taken drugs.  But today I don't understand you because you haven't played my video games.

(They all laugh at how ironic this is, and what a horrible situation we are living in, and how this classroom, oh, it's so much like life.)

PETIT STUDENT A: Have you ever brought anything back from the dead?

HE: Like a monster?  Like a Frankenstein Monster?

(And they are all so thrilled, because they've heard about this, he has a reputation in the academy for doing things that others wouldn't do, because they are afraid of tenure.  But no, not him, not with his alcoholic past, his motorcycle, and his wounded hand, no, no not him.)

HE: I have not thought about that in years, kiddies, not in years, but oh, there was a time, oh there was a time.

PETIT ESTUDIENNE BB: I want poetry, what happened to the poetry, something changed, there's no more poetry in my days, and your tongue is rough and all formulas and predictions.  What did you see by the side of the road today, and what did that tell you about who you are?

HE: I saw the skin of a monster, freshly shed, and it reminded me of another morning, a moonless morning, just like this one.

PETIT ESTUDIENNE BB: The sun is in the way, it's between me and God, and I'm stuck in time, praying to that.

(But, oh, hoho, this student is not who she pretends to be, she is a monster in disguise, and when he recognizes her, he keeps the secret, and suddenly there is fire.)

(And on the desk in front of god and everybody, a monster comes back to life.  And his hands are filled with oil, oil that starts to burn under his skin, and the hair under his shirt starts to turn in impossible directions.)

HE: In all of the work, there is always a wolf somewhere just beneath the surface.  The skin of the painting, the plaster on the statue, and the border between the subject and object, they all work together to disguise the wolf.  This place, this stuff, this discourse, is populated by monsters. 

PETIT ESTUDIENNE BB: I used to think that when we recognized ourselves we became whole, but whenever I see myself, I am all hunger, and entirely incomplete.

HE: That's just gorgeous.

PETIT ESTUDIENNE BB:  And when ghosts come back from the sea, they don't bring any cooling water, they come with fire.

STUDENT A: We know this.  We know the formula.  Nothing makes desire, it can't be created, only reanimated, and that's why I'm wondering if I can get extra credit for telling you about my weekend.

HE:  You sure can, laddy, you sure can.

(And they all gather in the antechamber where sophisticated ladies smoking pipes are talking again about Rimbaud and Kerouac and Baudelaire, because it can never get too French, but spring still refuses to open her mouth, because the dance in time is still pregnant with longing, as slow and sticky as molasses, and the things of the grave are moving aside for the things of grace, to infiltrate the too-bright world in a very silent and wondery wandery time.)

(End of lexicon.)


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