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stage center, a lone narrator

(Stage center, a lone NARRATOR. Standing straight, an average height, he seems weathered and
worn, not by time but by some greater emotional weight. Around him, a blue haze rests in the air,
the source unknown. He does not acknowledge it. He clears his throat, straightens a crease in
the sleeve of his suit, and speaks.)

NARRATOR : The day we are born is the day our battle begins. We are born with a
subconscious desire instilled within us, forever fixated on finding nirvana. This is a battle with
no clear opponent, no enemy to set our eyes on, as the definition of this desire and the means to
reach it are as unique and varied as the people harboring it. To many, the heavens are the final
bastion of hope. Others find a similar comfort within themselves. With goal in sight, we then
create our own opponents for the sake of continuing our battle, refusing to remain idle.

(A pause. The NARRATOR regards the AUDIENCE, stage left, then turns his head to
acknowledge stage right. An impassive sea of dreamers, insofar uninspired by his words, is
reflected in his eyes. He is not discouraged. He still has a story to tell. The blue haze is dancing,
swirling around the stage, delicate wisps of smoke careening in pirouettes around him. He is an
audience of one to their advances, the lone recipient of their spectacle, and yet he continues
uninhibited. The ballet would wait. He clears his throat.)

NARRATOR : On what grounds? Where do we derive our convictions from? Is it also
subconscious, this sense of emotional wanderlust?

(The NARRATOR advances towards the AUDIENCE, approaching the edge of the stage. His
arms swing upwards, emphatic pendulums, grasping for reason and meaning. There is spit when
he speaks. There is a passion in his speech and guise that the AUDIENCE, preoccupied with
their own vapid thoughts, continues to ignore.)

NARRATOR : Our fingers are merely stolen vultures talons, leaving desperate claw marks,
deep crevasses dug into the flesh of anything we were foolish enough to let go of. Once loved is
mistake enough, but we continue to love, and we continue to let go, the cycle repeating until
everyone walks around hiding their clawed scars under layers of thicker and thicker skin. And
that is but one stolen vice. We continue to steal, and we are still not masters of this ritualistic
thievery, as no stolen eyes have yet seen enough to guide us.

(The blue haze spreads further, slowly enveloping the AUDIENCE with a soft blanket. Indifferent
to its embrace, they casually continue their side-conversations, absent-mindedly regarding the
NARRATOR, who begins to pace the stage with an intensified vigor. His speech is frenetic and

approaching a climax. A few individuals now sit upright, regarding his monologue with a
renewed focus. There is a unity through the pathos.)

NARRATOR (shouting) : What guides you now? Each of you here, sitting in this theatre, are of
no value to the universe! Time does not know your name, your successes, your personal heavens
all will be forgotten by the next turn of the page! What will guide you tomorrow, when the
universe blinks and all of us are extinguished, swallowed by flames and suffocated by space?
The puppeteer will only laugh as her theater crumbles, dilapidated! The puppeteer is laughing

(The AUDIENCE is transfixed by this new commotion. All side-conversations have stopped. The
blue haze has risen, a suspended translucent veil across the theatres lights, creating a soft
bloom throughout.)

NARRATOR (still shouting) : Our strings only become more tangled as we blindly continue to
push the walls down on top of us! We must escape to the endless fields within ourselves, inside
our dreams, and find something to cling to! Sink your talons into the flesh of what you love,
greedily suck the blood until you have become one, and never

(The curtain begins to close, obstructing the AUDIENCEs view of the NARRATOR. He tries to
push through the gaps, continuing to shout, but is swallowed in the folds of the heavy fabric.
There is a spark and the curtain catches fire. It rapidly begins to spread, the march of the flames
providing a metronome for the dance of the blue haze, now a solemn waltz. There is an
incredible din of applause and catcalls. The AUDIENCE stands in ovation, cheering, as the
theatre is reduced to rubble and ash.)

Dancing in the afterlight of the sun (i)

I opened my eyes and the sun was gone.

There was no hole in the sky where it once was; rather, the skies had forgotten the sun was ever
there. The horizon was met with the edges of an impenetrable monochromatic dome, as if every
cloud had been neatly swept away, perpetually on the cusp of sight, yet still tantalizingly out of
view. Around me, tranquil fields of pale grass stretched for an immeasurable distance,
unchanging, reflecting the blank sky above. I had become a mere circus attraction, a dust mote in
the mysterious Room With No Walls. Gone were the crowded tenements, throbbing with the
pulse of the ramshackle communities within; gone were the sprawling sidewalks connecting
them like veins, severed by infinite incisions, the remnants falling away into some unknown
oblivion. The landscape around me harbored no indication a city had ever existed; the idyllic
fields were as undisturbed as they were lifeless. There was no voice speaking waves into the
grass. Everything had been replaced by something so alien, something so overwhelmingly
empty, my heart, my lungs, and every atom within me felt as if they were being pulled taut, made
frail. The sterile hues mirrored throughout the fields carried a unique weight, causing a
noticeable unease on both my body and mind. It was far different from the dull shades seen back
home. The city, stained with its endless gradients of industrial grays and browns, a metallic
palette often considered putrid by those from more rustic areas, was still more alive and more
beautiful than this new painting. This was unfamiliar. The landscape had its own presence, a
powerful and relentless force of emptiness. The Empty surrounded me and the accompanying
Silence was a constant whisper of disparagement.

Overwhelmed by my initial awakening, I had neglected entirely the urge to move or thoroughly
investigate my surroundings, aside from cautiously and lazily moving to an upright sitting
position. There seemed to be an invisible weight, concerned about a sensory oversaturation,
pinning my body to the ground and forcing me to slowly acknowledge and accept each minor
detail of my surroundings, sluggish. But my curiositys hunger was voracious. What else was
different in this foreign world? What rules had changed? I sat motionless for another moment,
allowing the questions to accumulate, festering forth from my minds subconscious into a more
clear and disturbing reality. The emptiness was replaced with a deep fear fear of how my body
would react to my brains more involved commands, fear of a mental or physical paralysis, fear
of the unknown I had somehow become immersed in.

I cautiously began to test myself, the mental process painstakingly slow, awaiting any misstep or
failure. The first trial was to allow myself, for the first time, to hide this new world I had
uncovered. Time had unrecognizably blurred as I sat unblinking and unresponsive through its
paces; my curiosity would have to momentarily wait to whet its appetite once more. Taking the
final mental step forth, I closed my eyes, forcing myself to pause. Immediate visual silence. All

of the nothing that surrounded me had been absorbed into the dark void hidden on the backs of
my eyelids. Apparently this cavernous darkness was one of the few familiarities I had been
privileged to still enjoy. It was peaceful. Here, in this foreign world, plagued with the unfamiliar
and abstract, I reveled in the opportunity to experience a familiar comfort of the old. The
darkness held a silence that was far more comforting than that of the silence held in the grass
around. But I was still left with unanswered questions, questions that could not wait for me to
passively stare into nothingness and stagnantly accept past wonders. Would things be different
when I opened my eyes once again? I nearly expected the sun to boldly reappear in the sky,
igniting the stern, lifeless horizon as a beautiful inferno. Maybe it would be hurtling towards me,
the short remainder of my life to be engulfed in a torturous flame. Or maybe I would open my
eyes to find myself dancing through an abyss, no ground below, surrounded by sky and space. It
was only a moment of darkness and yet I suddenly felt filled with a nervous optimism. My
tumultuous inner void was satiated with a mixture of hope that the familiarity of my city would
reappear, or that Id wake from a dream, and yet a strangely undeniable fear of both. I was
surprised to find myself already considering the option of accepting this situation, here in this
foreign land, as permanent.

I opened my eyes and nothing had changed.

A soft sigh escaped my body, my shoulders deflating slightly as I continued my tests. But there
was still a fear that my body would fail me, somehow, in some inexplicable manner. I slowly
lifted my left arm until it was at eye-level, parallel to the ground I sat on. With delicate and
calculated movements, I cautiously and ceremoniously uncoiled each individual finger, the
success a celebration; five miniature triumphs. My hand became an open palm, and I lowered it
back down to the ground, satisfied. I repeated the trial with my right arm, and then stood. I was
taken aback at how easily I was able to accomplish these tasks once I overcame and accepted the
initial shock of the situation. I suppose I hadnt registered the fact that I had been able to sit
upright with no noticeable discomfort, though it never hurt to be too cautious. Although the
world around me defied everything I had ever known, it was comforting knowing my body
seemed to be functioning properly, my synapses intact. I felt both as rested and as healthy as I
had ever been.

But this comfort was not enough. Uncertainty continued to weigh me down, badgering my
composure, until my feelings of confusion towards this new land manifested into a vitriolic
anger. I lashed out. I used what I had and what I knew the ability of movement, motion,
expression to channel my despair. I jumped, shouted, kicked and flailed, pounding the grass
with my fists. Unsurprisingly, my pleas went unanswered. My questions faded, echoing only
inside my own mind, while my chest shook and heaved. The grass lay bent and matted, barely
providing evidence for my minute tantrum. How could my surroundings be so indifferent to my
actions? How could I be so small, so worthless? My greatest expression of rage was no more
than an annoying hum in the ear of this perverted, alternate biome. It infuriated me. Before I

knew what I was doing, my hands were buried into the soil, tearing the grass out in great lumps.
It served no reason or purpose, but it was all I knew to do in that moment. As I kneeled there,
doubled over in frustration, tears began to fall, bursting on the backs of my hands. I remained in
that position. As my tears continued to nurture the soil, I tried to analyze every second of my life
prior to arriving in the Empty. Its funny how introspective you become when you have nothing.
What punishment was this? What answers was I being denied? My mind grew tired of asking
questions, defeated by the lack of response. Sinking back into a sitting position, I realized in that
moment, my life was dominated by only two truths.

I was lost, and I was alone.

These two words reverberated inside my head, wildly careening, directionless, crashing into any
thought that was unfortunate enough to feel their wrath. This sense of lost, so caustic and
abrasive, tore at me. I had been lost before, of course, left with countless stories of frustration
and anger, but never had I felt such a visceral fear. To be truly alone, in a void created by the
most sadistic introvert, failing to find comfort even in the resolve of my own mind. Stricken by a
great pang of exhaustion, it felt as if finally harboring this realization was the end chalice to an
emotional gauntlet I was the lone subject of. My eyelids fell, heavy shutters drawn closed over
the windows to my skull, the nonexistent sun pushed further away from my heart and mind. I
welcomed the darkness and closed my eyes.

do you remember that gallenburger?

My eyes find the mirror. Staring in a pond, like theres a pool of water hiding behind this
reflective pane in my bathroom, I see an echo of myself. Its warbled by some invisible stone,
thrown by some unknown force, twisting the hues of my image until each color becomes the
wrong shade and each muscle moves out of place. Each passing second creates another ripple in
my image, distorting it more, throwing my self-perception into a nervous state of disbelief.

My minds orchestra begins to enter its second movement. Melody is pushed into a cacophony as
the maestro swings his arms in greater and more exaggerated arcs, beckoning the wall of noise
before him to push the audience of one, myself, into a swollen oblivion. Each ripple in my image
and each new note in the song further detracts me from my art, and my painting remains
unfinished; the artists desire to write a new page in the art history textbooks remains incomplete.

I look down towards the sink, reaching for the stained silver handles that could clear the ripples
from my skin. The stream hesitated, as if nervous to assist me, until it coughed and began to
spurt forth, uneven but constant. A cerulean blue paste, #A2D9E8, began to fill the ceramic
bowl. I paused. I was accustomed to the water in my apartment having flakes, tasting strange,
even having a slight smell, but it was never so opaque. This substance greedily clung to edges of
the sink, a vibrant molasses; it hardly reflected the nature of water. Paint, if anything. I hastily
disengaged the right handle, watching the remaining swatch circle the drain, sluggishly rolling
towards the center. It cleared, and I reached for the left handle. #E66963.

A single note rang out, and ripples skimmed the surface once more. The violinist was at center
stage, playing on blue. It was a remarkable melody, as fragile as a flower, as delicate as a thought
in my head. The music slowly began to crescendo once more, and I allowed myself to fall into
the pool. Allowed the tune to continue the painting as I sat in the audience and watched.

Next on our tour, we see the stunning penultimate work by the late Polish-American artist
_________. Interestingly enough, this was his final completed work, as his last piece remained
unfinished before his death. As you may have noticed, this piece shows the culmination of his
years of experimentation, as his precarious blending of different influence and era finally
transitioned from mere emulation and homage into his own unique craft. The use of color is
particularly interesting because it seems to reflect the artists own mentality and position in life
at the time it was created which, although not unusual for an artist to try and create, is done with
masterful effect here.

There was a brief pause.

But maam, the canvas is blank, someone commented, and as the museum curator carefully
responded, I watch with dimmed eyes from the back of the crowd, trying not to yawn.

The music stopped.

Dancing in the afterlight of the sun (ii)

I opened my eyes and I heard the sound.

I immediately sprung up from my position of rest. The land around me was unchanged, the cold
grass and gray dome-like sky blas to this new sensation I was experiencing. A sound! In this
place? I could hardly fathom what it could be, and before I could consider any of the
possibilities, I was on my feet. Running towards the hum, I thought about what I had just
experienced. Why had I grown tired? Why did I feel the need to sleep? A quick look above my
head proved that the sun had still yet to return. Did this strange land still have its own cycles of
day and night, and would I continue to feel cycles of energy and exhaustion? Or was I simply
overwhelmed by the initial shock of appearing in such a strange and foreign land that my mind
could not further continue to withstand the weight of the new mysteries surrounding me?

I had not even begun to consider the implications of my dream sequence, the strange blend of
music, art, and a supposed future memory, when I halted abruptly. The sound was closer now,
close enough to be intelligible.


Could it be? Had I found companions, someone to share the mystery and wonder of this world?
Someone who could possibly elucidate all the questions I had spiraling forth unkempt in the
confines of my minds cage?

I began to sprint. It did not matter to me whether these voices belonged to a friend or a foe, an
ally or enemy. I was in an alternate universe, the sun had fallen from the sky, and the memories I
had of home were fading with each passing moment. As the saying goes, I had nothing to lose,
but everything to gain. My body shook with a frenetic energy, invigorated at the thought that
there was a foreseeable solution or, at the very least, a definite change that was about to occur.

As the sound intensified, the voices becoming vaguely more audible, I noticed the landscape
around me was changing as well. No longer were the fields an unwavering level plane; rather, I
was descending a slight incline, and I noticed divots and bulges of various sizes in the land
around me. I had stumbled into a theatre of mystery and I had finally found the courage and will
to raise my shaking hands and pull back the curtain. I could almost hear Antonin Artaud
laughing from a hidden perch in the audience. What else would I find?

A shout, from my left. Screeching to a halt, nearly falling, I turn to realize I am atop a great hill,
and there are visitors below me. The following sequence happened quickly. Time felt as if it had
slipped somewhere between the fall and rise of an eyelid, lost in a dim darkness. There were

embraces as I was introduced to three travelers, laughter and exuberance as we shared our stories
of confusion and anger. A slight tugging in the back of my mind, a quiet whisper of, They offer
no solutions. You were lost before, and lost you remain. But I silence it, pay it no heed, because
I have people to share this with. We were all lost, ants waiting for a microscope to come and
incinerate us under the dome of the Room With No Walls.

Before long, I felt optimistic for the return of familiarity. Even if I never saw home again, even if
I forgot what home was, here, in a land that broke every rule the textbooks had ever taught me
was law, friendships could be recreated and rebuilt. People could endure and survive, somehow,
perhaps, as long as they had one another. But familiar comfort was not the only familiarity that
returned. The encounter took a look out of us, all of us, and I began to once again feel the
welcoming of exhaustion and sleep. But I refused to lay idle not yet. The four of us arranged
ourselves in a haphazard circle in the grass and began to share anything and everything we could
think of.

The stories of our past were fading. Each second furthered the rapid sublimation that turned our
memories into a mist, ethereal, our fingers catching nothing but smoke through the cracks. But
we helped each other cling on, as best as we could, until the warmth and comfort lured me to

Problems for another day.

important memories come swarming back to you

Its the first day, not of the class, but of this one story, and the wizened professor is pulling teeth
again, like many days before. The students, his patients, theyre cynical, skeptical, and theyre
also pulling, both at his dentistry license and the frayed tips of his hair, until all patience is gone.
And Motivation, you know, its a stubborn and decaying molar, more likely to rot and sink back
into the recesses of your mouth, way back in there, as a painful sore, than it is likely to be
extracted and serve to inspire. But the professor, hes good, hes pulled teeth before and hes
pulled Motivation out of even the most crooked mouths, so he pulls up his sleeves and hes all,
Forget the prompt, forget the direction, write a story about anything and have it ready for next
class. And hes not quite defeated but you still know he didnt want to say it, so he lowers his
plaque-covered tools and retreats.

Ill make it quick, because all good stories are its the second day, and the panicked student,
well, hes still struggling. I mean, it could be from anything, but well say todays itch is a bad
case of writers block, a cramped infection of the hands and mind that no mD has a cure for,
though Valium is a good place to start, you know? So this kid is really bugging out, until his
older sister comes home. Archetypal role-model type gal you know, a real trope, deus ex
machina kind of solution to one of these crises, and shes all, Why dont you start by creating a
character? And yeah, sure, he thinks thats easy, but she shakes her head, tells him, Make them
as beautiful, or as ugly, as you, only you, can imagine. And the kid sits back, right, because he
keeps picturing this beautiful fucking person in his head, like maybe hes seen this person before,
maybe he just grabs pieces from people he met, but he starts thinking. Starts building. Starts to
smooth out the wrinkles and starts writing, right?

Were almost there, dont worry. Last day, back in the class, and the confused professor is one
story short, but sees one character still in the waiting room. So he asks, and the student smiles, I
dont have a story, but I think Im in love. And you think, isnt that the reason why we do this
shit in the first place?

or, the narrator loses his mind

its only natural for the audience to grow restless during even the most enticing and the most
captivating of plays or performances or stories because no matter how much is put into the
endeavor or how much of the artists heart and blood is woven into the thread, the audience still
holds some urgent sense of self-importance, unraveling your work, all because these spinsters
feel as if you, the creator, todays purveyor of fine art and modern culture, owe it to them to


to let them step outside to just breathe or smoke or shit or squeeze out a quick fuck or whatever
they need to do before they can snap their attention back to the stage that is messily adorned with
the confetti guts that have spilled out of the proverbial piata, beat into an unrecognizable and
misshapen heap by their greedy eyes, well, I think its time to


and break the fourth wall, mingle with the audience, like

hello, how are you, are you enjoying the show so far, are you connecting with any of the
characters, what do you think of the setting, the Room With No Walls, yes, do you see an overarching
narrative, have you seen the language and images continued throughout, is there anything you dont understand, anything that we
can do to improve subsequent showings, are there people you wish were here, will you share this experience with others, do the differing formats work for
you, does anything seem experimental for the sake of being experimental, is it forced, does it flow, do do do do do and so the doldrums continue on and on ad infinitum

and we all come back exhausted from conversation prepared to sink into the cushions and eager
for round two of the narrative to unfold but were eager for something new because weve
already seen a play and a short story or two and a dream and a parable so lets see if this piata
has any poetry

two poems written at two very different points in the artists life

We long to live for the moments of love,
fleeting, yet strong enough to give us hope
to say, Though theres no god or gates above,
we have one heart and speak with but one throat.
Our lives pulsate a beat by our own drum
that we built from the ash of past missteps
and learned that love can be controlled by none;
always astray, we pray that it connects.
But words will fade from each last page I write,
and our voices become too hoarse to speak
or praise the joys of our once wondrous life,
and so silence becomes our shared defeat.
My dreams of you never came to see light,
so I remain dormant, swallowed by night.

After holding our breath
for as long as we could take,
we simultaneously exhaled,
and opened our eyes.
We were surrounded by darkness and mystery,
our eyes greeted by a blank void,
expanding infinitely
all around us.
As our eyes adjusted,
tiny sparks of light,
miniature flames,
began illuminating the
Each spot,
a pinpoint Prometheus,
seemingly staring back at us.
But they were ever fleeting,
and any steps I took towards them
were greeted with a flickering of the light,
eventually dissipating back to

So we closed our eyes again,
and swung our limbs with a reckless fervor,
eager to make some sort of contact
with the mysterious incandescence around us.

a nice day for a swim

I watch as my stomach bursts outwards with a bouquet of flowers, the horned stems of roses
cutting through my skin effortlessly. Again. This time, Im swimming underwater, watching
them grow faster than I can paddle, my feet cycling on invisible pedals underwater. Petals
surrounded me, painting the water with splashes of soft pastels amidst the perennial green,
delicate streams of my own blood swirling in helixes around them. It was as beautiful as always.

The transformation was beautiful yet messy, surprisingly painless and yet explosive, the growth
accelerating rapidly. Flowers continued blooming from the spaces between my ribs, fighting
each other, gasping for a taste of the water that surrounded us. Each vine was an aching finger,
scratching past the other tendons and extremities, desperately clawing to be the first at what lay
beyond the confines of my chest. Floating towards the surface, I continued to pedal my invisible
bicycle, continued my attempts to halt the expansion of this botanical invasion. But covering the
wound only served to get myself more tangled in the situation, the hands of the flower
intertwining with mine, dancing to a tune I could not hear, enveloped by the jeering rose petals
accenting our rhythm and motions.

The dance reached its climactic finale, peaking as I broke the surface of the water. A beach.
Though far from shore, I could see there were people everywhere. Were they also unwilling
hosts? How could I warn them? I swam as quickly as I could, rapidly increasing the width of my
strokes and strength of my kicks, hurtling myself towards the shore. The roses halted in their
growth, the force of the water pushing them back towards my chest, their fingers crushed by the
wake of the minute waves crashing against them. But the petals caused drag, forcing me to
double my efforts, to constantly increase the intensity at which I pushed myself. If I could reach
the shore quickly enough, perhaps I could gain an understanding of what was happening to me.
Perhaps I could warn others and save them from enduring a similar fate, even if I could not be
saved myself.

Alas, as I neared the edge of the beach, I saw my warning was unnecessary; the flowers had
made it to shore far before I could.

I watched as a young boy on an inner tube near me was silenced, egregious amounts of daffodils
sprouting from the inside of his throat, bubbling from his mouth like a yellow froth. Flailing
wildly in a mixture of fright and confusion, the boy struggled and fell from the tube. The bubbles
ceased before I could reach him.

As a mother frantically fought to pull roots and stems from her daughters head, at the same time
battling the spread of geraniums that threatened to consume her legs. As two men battled to
rescue a woman completely enveloped in begonias, reaching and pushing through the mass of

vegetation until a lone hibiscus was all that remained in their stay. As a small dog, desperately
pawing at the zinnias smothering her pups, gave a final cry, the lavender wave sweeping her
offspring towards oblivion, her own fate sealed by the larkspur tumors sprouting from her mane.

I watched in horror as every root pulled was greeted with another two, the flowers a hydra,
devouring the beach.

I turned to leave, walking towards my familys umbrella, now decorated by our own miniature
temperate forest. Beneath, I found two piles of tulips and lilacs, still slowly growing and
embracing each other, their hues mixing to form a singular palette. I smiled at the sight of my
towel, off to the side, covered in loose sand. I decided to lie down, the final growth of my own
roses now constricting my lungs and throat, the thorns securing footholds in the final bare
patches of flesh that still remained.

At least the flowers were pretty.

dancing in the afterlight of the sun (iii)

I wake from another dream (or was it a series of dreams?) and realize I had terribly rude. I turn to
apologize to my guests, to reassure them that I enjoyed the parables and poetry they so kindly
shared, but they are gone. I am alone again. There is no trace of their footsteps around me, no
artifacts from the previous nights camp. I am left with the dim understanding that this situation
will never change; any comfort I find will only ever be a temporary peace.

I pick a direction and begin to walk. I still cannot find the sun.

the delicate orchestra will play our favorite song

The clocks are blank, the sky is dark. I see my mother and myself, a child, playfully resisting her
attempts to put me to sleep. But she has her ways. She can transform a child into the most
pristine musical note and send them floating into the ears of the universe. My mother would sing
me to sleep every night, knowing her attempts at humming a soothing tune, even if slightly off-
key, were one of the few comforts that could dispel my fear of the night. And as I float away,
towards the endless infinity that only my dreams can promise, not even the darkness of night can
disturb me. Nothing can harm me.

But I watch myself grow, right there in that bed, each stage of my life another stage in some
abstract triptych. As if a life could be defined by three stages. But the second was a stark
chiaroscuro to the first, the innocence passing, the understanding of a real fear. The fear of the
night was replaced with a fear of silence and solitude. My subconscious became so absorbed
with the fragile melody that my mother once hummed that I physically became trapped within it.
No longer was I being peacefully transformed or carried by this musical narrative; I now saw
myself become a mere vessel of fears, carried forward by memories, hands removed from any
involvement of the future.

No matter how much I struggled, my jagged movements only caused the tune to shift off-key,
causing a pang of discomfort in any nearby listeners. No matter how I flailed my arms, the
reckless behavior only caused dark splatters in the center pane of the triptych. Standing on the
outside, the artist reflecting back, I realize that my only tool is a bucket of paint and a brush
whose thistles have become frayed. In this third pane, my behaviors are forced to become more
delicate, because there is no going back.

I still adhere that the sweetest moments were when old friends of mine, long since removed from
my life, would casually recall a memory we once shared and would hum my fragile tune,
unaware that, in that brief moment, I was the ethereal presence that warmed the room. I could be
called forth, just as I am now. Even as time passes, anyone can survive the textbooks of infinity
as long as they leave enough memories.

Now, I hear the creatures of the night singing me through the darkness, carrying me away. There
is no sun to follow, no breeze to flow my drift. My hand will stammer, nervous, as the melody
carves new strokes into the final pane.

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