xxii.

resin left smudged on old pages ylo poetry , breaking pauses; where the pages go black and ruin embattles where of hesitations to speak, or Old Poems, I simply forget, left burned against the margin turning green to blues and fire into rain—

these left on the dresser in the morning, fluids in an unmade bed: tamarind fantasy, vegas turkey drippings— left smudged. fingerprint wndows. become

soon to combine, soon to rest on its sides stacked descending; unrolling down. but do not remembr, I cannot pull these misspelled memories from the fivehundred years of a pheonix’s legacy.

(those are burned.)

peels longing against soudscreak&moan heavywood, maybe cypress— or the deep rolls of winding red madrona. they stretch arms toward the ocean, breaking from the lush interior. goldengreen grasses spread steeped in brandycolord choreography, drizzled with rust, driedrose, and burntcream flora, reminding him of a mochasoft coffee&milk aroma. the field terminates in a wide pebble&stone rock shore. the union of the northwest coast is a collage of ideas, interactive ecological systems; here the worlds collide, the sea and the earth—warfare and love alike are transmitted through the fog&rain, the minerals, when they try they try the creeks and treetops. A steady, calm, ancient to speak; drowned balance of voices layered mix/matched language/ in cherry wine visions collected in deep pools of thought, gathered floods like sunset spectrum by the rains constantly falling outside the home, the summrdry, residual blood body, pattering against the skull like a pacific squall on gold spread battering singlepane wndows of such weathered across my tongue dwellings as animal flesh&bone. &lips. hollowed out; leaving ourselves staring into the sound, open the way a child sees for the very first time, in wondr. this translated, our path met at this center— streaming energyfields through, from point to point, inbetween which the universe explodes. as [it] occurs inside—a phenomenon of the mind; we are not looking outside, but through, and only at those, our mind’s projection.

Dyou hear it that way? Listn: like forlorn victorian homes and crusted black dresses—pianos playing—laugh with me at this scene, laughing madly, ysee, sitting on these fallen logs, woodrot driftwood barnacle-laden. Absolute madness clinging together, an unstable alignment. We’re sitting for the grand spectacle—I want to see it now, hold it projected onto me—as if I am who or what—as if ages or histories pass in the halfseconds I move my eyeyes, complete consciousness passing whenever I blink. It’s music and poetry. Nicholas lifted a stone from the ground and rubbed his fingers around it, threw it into the water.

From the yard it was just a short (steep) walk to the beach&woods of their small corner of the inlet:sound:ocean; down warped steps swelled and contorted by constant rains, weeds piercing through their slits and gaps. The sky was clear. They had built a fire as the day faded to rest, rolld over a couple boulders so they could sit in a circle, the three of them, grinding the soles of their feet into the crush of shells.There was a thin stretch of black cloud in the distance, silent trails of lightning scattered from it, though here only shone full autumn moon, an amber wave in pale light to dress the depleting canopy for the evening. It smellt of salt and clams, lowtide, but caught by a cold night, held still, infused with the sweet aroma of pine coming in from the surrounding hills. A thin fog resembled steam, giving the impression that the water was boiling, though in fact it must have been near freezing. A tumbling groan came from the distant clouds, to which Nicholas gave a shudder. Don’t mind it, said Ray, those a’just thundering, no rain in ‘em, it’s all bark, yknow, no real bite. Not anymore. Just look up now, it ain’t nothing but the moon, can you see it there, how big? Nick looks up and sees it almost ylo, like another sun dimmed low, worn blu around the edges and into the deep purple expanse of a clear but starless night. As if this moon were enough. Another moan, a small flash of white light, barely there at all. A memory, nothing more. He turns his head back down—both Ray and Nando are staring into the small burning pile of wood—and then out at the water, which lurched still, as black milk. Been thinking, he blurts, about some of these visions, whaddya call them—ideas, yknow, about what I’m doing now, or ought to be doing now—with my work, yknow, cause I ain’t been doing shit much lately. About characters, really, that’s why I mention it, Fernie old boy, I think that’s yr department, isn’t it? Character as art form, something visual but also visceral, real, you can touch it, but more, it might touch you—if you want it to, if it wants to— can I even call it it: a character. Is it a humn, then, that can’t be enough. Because if we are objects, then we can be art. Maybe Isa knows something about fashion. Doubt it, said Nando, lighting a smoke to share with Ray. Anyway, I’m thinking about it, about the unconscious artistic presentations that people make everyday. Their unconscious expression. Dyou mean subconscious? I dknow; you tell me. Get on with it, then. What I mean is, think to yrself, of pure hypotheticals, right, can we think in those terms—of moments which may occur without our knowing, without our ability to know, which come into direct conflict with everything we do know—an anarchist street punk militant activist, saving the life of the cop, pawn of the state; pulling to safety from flaming wreckage or some shit. I just mean that moment when somehow all divisions dissolve; we’ll say it’s at a major clash, right, a suddenly violent protest—cars exploding—brick toppling—screaming from rubble&debris—then it happens, shi saves him, snatches the fallen oppressor from the hammer of death...as ferocious the conflict between them, as sharp the barriers dividing their extreme opposed ideologies—there is a moment, in which

the consciousness of one recognizes a piece of itself in the other, an ability which any true military force (such as that of the officer himself ) must destroy within the mind of the individual humn—what I’m saying here is, I think we must give more thought to the idea of awareness, not only of the self, but of the self in everything, and the unknowable likenesses that bond them—and because that recognition happens, it must save itself, protect itself from harm, no matter the opposed casings it’s found itself in. Because if each piece of this fragmented whole is of equal value, then each is worth the gift of life, and despite our own divisive influence on such natural unity, there must appear moments of absolute and pure humn existence, and when we process that moment, it becomes a profound flash into the collective spirit. I mean, that’s fucking real vision, yknow, that spontaneous—there’s no distinction in that splitsecond between the anarchist and the cop, the oppressed and the oppressor, and fuck man, here, that’s deep is all I’m trying to say, that’s some postmodern shit. I woulda just let him burn, said Ray. Right, I’m not saying you shouldn’t, I’m just saying that you take that situation there, yknow that was just an example, what I’m really saying is that process&situation, that happening, yknow, what it means for that to happen. It should really make you think, shouldn’t it, about who we are as a people and a common species. But I do hope the spirit always triumphs. That the cop would save the punk, too. // Most of us die unknown, dyou believe that Fernando? I mean, the greater audience, the greater conglomeration, does it ever know—I doubt it. We are forgotten, a memory only as part of a collective ancestral source. Flashes of light. Anonymous. It makes me wondr, though, about celebrity. Been thinking about it lately. People who dream of it—which is perhaps the new american grail, the new impossible ambition meant to blind us—dyou believe that? Have you ever wanted it? To escape a suburban prison of existential anonymity in the most radical way possible, to become an individualist icon, product itself, admired and resting in the center of a grand gallery. A statue. I have, sure I have, and it reminds me of Isabel, these dreams of recognition, yet they too come with hollow nightmares, fears of not only exposure, but certain objective disconnection, fate worse than death. I worry about Isa, I know you do, too. But it’s the name, that’s what I’m getting at here, Nando. Yr a man of letters, so I come to you. Fernando corrects that it was he that came to him; it brought you to me, then. Because there’s some fishy shit going on, and I’m starting to not believe this world around us is really as we see and know it. Being characters. And what I’m suspicious of most, is why some outter compulsion brought you here, perhaps even killed off our dear mentor Arturo Bonilla (r.i.p.) in an effort to aid in my struggle with the names. That’s what it is, the recognition. I think it started with the name, arriving suddenly. Like it was always there. Do I feel like you know my name? That word—without a stable definition; but a meaning, certainly, what do those words mean to you, to me.

As an infant it was the word I was most surrounded by—until I knew it was mine—and for years thereafter I was the slate upon which meaning of that word was engraved—and one day I’ll die. Does that word die, too? And above all remembr, it is mine. It becomes a struggle to reclaim it, define it for myself, and what happens when I’m gone—perhaps those are irrelevant questions. But here we are, with names, and I don’t remembr being named, I don’t remembr struggling to know it, I simply know it in my bones. But it wasn’t always that way, and maybe it never really is. That’s why you come to me, Nando, to tell me what my name is? Did it just happen that way, or is there unique meaning, or dyou read me different—hell, what kind of teapot is this anyway, the water’s almost set to boil over—we got a burial tomorrow, compadre. Tomorrow morning we’ll wake to the air of death. Should we stay up late tonight? Pull an all nighter and greet it ready&waiting. But maybe we don’t have enough booze or pot. You tell me. // They stayed out until the sky went black and the moon had gone low enough for the stars to rear out of hiding. Out of wood, the fire reduced to hot coals. Walked back to the homestead and took rest in the comfort of broken-in blankets and an abundance of pillows without cases. Nicholas said a prayer that night, something he’d not done since the mamacita forced him to confession, a small boy, a child. It was spoken aloud, but softly, and was not directed to, but was simply a brief outpour, a recital of poetry, speaking with. He slept restlessly that night, torn by fractured dreams until at last the sun returned; he was already awake to see it. / Bonilla, like himself, had been raised a catholic, but was not religious—a spirituality pervaded him, though, and even in their most rebelious years, it captured both he and Fernando. The magic of it. The peaceful nature and strength of conviction; a humility kept warm by a thoughtful propensity toward kindness, generosity, altruism. In his final letters, which had been received years before his death, he seemed entrenched in the spirit of things, finding god, redefining the word itself. As the sun reached the peak of noon they set his body into the earth, encased by carved wood. There were few attendants, though his two exwives had showed up to pay their respects. A few words were said by a couple of old colleagues, the same tired rhapsody—ashes to ashes. In accordance with the deceased’s wishes the casket was cheap, quick to decompose, though etched with a coat-of-arms he’d designed himself, two coyotes and a tortoise shell surrounded by flowring cacti; Nick had done the final woodwork, after Bonilla’s stroke had claimed the use of his right hand. Watched it sink into the ground with an almost apologetic satisfaction. He was buried as these attendants would bury their grief in the hallway closet.

Stop at a bar on the way home, to toast the life&times of their fallen mentor. To remembr together. cold lit blu with people huddled in crowds, presst against the bartop, to keep warm, to sip firewater; tequila orendain, crema de almendrado. Put in a couple bucks for the jukebox, to play some earlytime rock’n’roll, afro-cuban jazz, crustyvoice blues; cool their blood on a moment of silence before the first sips. n w

t w o s h o t s

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Watch wymn dance while talking about the mima mounds and rolls of northwestern prairie, the old man forcing them to weed scotchbroom, a deeprooted hardy but invasive plant which must be removed with a large steel wrench. Work, work, he would tell them. You must be willing to suffer and kill. These plants will be burned, their seeds can be exterminated no other way; but we are given to enforce a more natural sense of the world—consider this sacrifice, respect it, admire it. For it will surprise you what is truly invasive in our work, and what it means to shed such addictions, habits, desires, wants. / They are slightly remembrs oatgrass and copper swells drunk by the time they begin the customary songs of dried moss, meadows and tears, laugh about his subtle but stubborn ways, kneaded in knolls rolling take cigarettes outside and walk back to the car; it with scattered gardens was getting late; tomorrow would be a long drive. cinquefoile and brackenfern.

In the morning they will begin their journey back home. There is no more need to stay, to dwindle after the dead have been consecrated to the earth. Change became immediately important, vital. Their bags were packt. Ray would join them.

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