September 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
I don’t know why I’m as attracted to this piece of poetic prose as I’ve proven over the years to be. It is so unlike nearly everything else I’ve ever written. The structure of my writings tend to be that of a spiral–they either begin with a dramatic bang and expand outward, or an expansion caught in reverse and continually constricting into a delirious scribble–more than they are fragmentary like this. I don’t know if it is good, per se, and I’m very reluctant to post it at all, but airing it, like a grievance, seems a part of the tinkering process. It began, as these things usually do, much longer than it is now, as a recurring interlude in a piece I presented on Early German Romanticism and creativity, and I suspect that by the time I’m finished with it, it will be either one word or none at all. Listen at your leisure, or not at all.
(See text below the fold)
“A Dialogue on Staring”
Are you listening? You never listen.
You never talk —
You’re never here.
You never look —
Do these sounds made words make sense?
It’s all the same —
You’re always staring — who are you starting at if not me? It can’t be me. What is it? It’s me. Why aren’t you talking? You never talk. Are you listening? You’re just staring. Stop — please, don’t stare —for once, please, don’t.
What do you see?
I’m letting be —
You – don’t. You’re not allowed —that is completely unacceptable. No. No. Absolutely — no.
I don’t want to fall. I don’t want to die. I only want to drown — you understand that. Of all people, you do. Do not let go.
I’ve decided to let go —
You said it at least once. You said it, sometime, in a whisper, I heard you. You said it or you wrote it — what’s the difference? Is there a difference? You said it — I know. You said it and I was alive. The sun was brilliant like Baal — emerging from the earth in the east — and the waves, they were calm and we were one island, us against them — and we were singing those unchristian songs you knew by heart to that insouciant city on a hill wearing its sinside on the
inside without a soul in sight.
Do you know that I dream of you every night? Of ripping myself open, this chest of mine, cracking apart the breast plate and under the weight of the pain — my heart pounding — my body’s blood — begging you to peek inside — and when you do, you gasp — and when you do, you pull away — my death in your breath and my blood on your hands. You didn’t know a heart could pump so much blood.
Do you know I wake up wanting to dream that same dream all over again? I don’t want to wake up. I don’t ever want my eyes to open. I want to dream blind, with my eyes hollowed out. I want only to hear that crack and feel your fingers — inside me — pushing — your face against the tear — peeking — staring.
You must know it’s all the same —
In my dreams, sometimes you’re the dead one. I see an axe through your head — or a bullet in the wall behind you, having passed through your stomach, kidneys, and spinal cord, leaving you crippled at first, crumpled and alone until I show up, too late, and I see you lying there, too late, looking alive, too late, eyes wide open, too late — staring.
Always the same —
I’m sorry. Of all people, you know that. You know that I don’t mean any of this. None of these words that hurt — you know that, right? Of all people, you should. If not you, who? You know me better than these words. They’re only words. I take them all back — give them back — let go of these words. They’re mine, not yours. You shouldn’t have them.
Listen, don’t listen to me — none of this – if you’d just look at me you’d see the truth. You’d know that I — Isn’t that clear now? Surely, by now, you understand. You’re drowning, but you’re not dead. Isn’t that enough? What else do I need to do? You’ve taken everything. I gave it to you.
You know — you said it yourself. Didn’t you? I thought you did. Wasn’t that you? I sometimes can’t remember details. Who would say that? Nobody — nobody would say that. That’s why it had to be you. You said it — now say it again.
Even today —
It’s funny the things that scare a person — being alone being forgotten being forgotten and alone. Forgetting you’re alone. These are the things I want to tell you, that I keep trying to tell you, but I’m not sure you’re listening.
What do you see that I don’t? What do you feel that I ought? You’re — and yet you’re — the eyes — they’re —
You’re gone —
I keep losing track of what it is I — Are you still staring? This is really getting old. I mean, I can’t —
If only — you’d just — last night, I think I believed in eternal life, but by the time I woke up I’d forgotten why.
I don’t know what you want. I’d stare back, but all I see is me — too much me — only me. Where do you begin? Add one, subtract or add anything to infinity, Zeno says it, and it doesn’t make any difference — none at all.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to see yourself in another? Do you know? Do you have any clue?
You have to.
When all you can do is stare.